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Tillakaratne Dilshan ruled out of first Test with New Zealand

Tillakaratne Dilshan: Ruled out of first Test

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Sri Lanka opener Tillakaratne Dilshan has been ruled out of Saturday's first Test with New Zealand in Galle because of a back injury.

He will be replaced by uncapped 24-year-old left-hander Dimuth Karunaratne at the top of the order for the first of the two-Test series.

"Dilshan has not come good with his back problem," Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene said. "Batting probably he can manage, but on the field, movement is still giving him problems.

"We assessed him on Wednesday and he wasn't 100 per cent and we had a chat to give him this Test off and provide him with some time to see whether he could be fit for the next Test."

Sri Lanka won the ODI series 3-0, and they will be looking to build momentum ahead of their tour of Australia.

Chanaka Welegedara returns to the Test squad for the first time since March, the fast bowler having recovered from injury.

The hosts' main selection dilemma will be the identity of the second seamer. Shaminda Eranga is Sri Lanka's rising star, but Nuwan Kulasekara has been in decent form.

Sri Lanka are likely to field two spinners, Suraj Randiv and Rangana Herath, and the Kiwis have a decision to make on how many they will play.

Daniel Vettori continues to be on the sidelines, so Jeetan Patel, who spent the summer helping Warwickshire to the county title, returns to the team having played just two Tests in the last two years.

They could give a first cap to leg-spinner Todd Astle but with plenty of rain forecast, seam is likely to be more important than usual in Galle so Patel is likely to be the sole slow option.

Tim Southee will definitely play, so fellow quicks Neil Wagner, Chris Martin, Trent Boult and Doug Bracewell are probably competing for two places.

The Kiwis are hoping their new bowling coach - Sri Lanka legend Chaminda Vaas - will give their pacemen an edge.

"He has given us an insight into how to play in Sri Lankan conditions and we have a couple of left-arm quicks who are learning a lot off him at the moment, he's been an asset to our group so far," said skipper Ross Taylor.