Asela Gunaratne (c) recently earned himself an IPL contract with MI    Getty Images
Asela Gunaratne (c) recently earned himself an IPL contract with MI Getty Images

Colombo: Two cricketing soldiers who helped Sri Lanka to victory in recent Twenty20 clashes abroad have been promoted for their exploits on the pitch, the military said Wednesday. All-rounder Sekkuge Prasanna rose a rank for his strong showing in South Africa while batsman Asela Gunaratne was recognised for his performance against Australia in January. Prasanna was promoted to Warrant Officer Grade One while Gunaratne, previously a sergeant, was promoted to Warrant Officer Grade Two. The pair, both aged 31, began their cricketing careers in the army, where they are still enrolled despite their professional sporting commitments.

Gunaratne slammed 84 to power Sri Lanka to a last-ball victory against Australia, clinching the three-match Twenty20 series for the visitors. He was named player of the series, and has been included in Sri Lanka’s 15-member squad for the two-match Test series against Bangladesh from next week. Prasanna scored 37 not out and took one wicket in the third Twenty20 match against South Africa in January, with Sri Lanka claiming the series. Sri Lanka announce squad for Bangladesh Test series

Sri Lanka on Wednesday named two uncapped players in a 15-member squad led by spinner Rangana Herath for the two-Test home series against Bangladesh starting next week. All-rounder Malinda Pushpakumara, 29, was brought into the squad after he led Sri Lanka A to a three-wicket victory over England Lions in an unofficial Test on Monday, the Sri Lankan board said. Fast bowler Vikum Sanjaya Bandara, 25, was called up for a second time. He was first named into the Test squad in December for the South African tour, but did not play.

Sri Lanka’s regular skipper Angelo Mathews has been left out of the two Tests against Bangladesh, but the SriLankan board has not ruled him out of the three one-day internationals and the two Twenty20 games. The first Test starts in Galle on March 7.