GALLE Sri Lanka opener Tillakaratne Dilshan has been ruled out of the first test against New Zealand starting on Saturday because of a continuing back injury.
He will be replaced by uncapped 24-year-old left-hander Dimuth Karunaratne.
"Dilshan has not come good with his back problem," Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene told a news conference.
"We had a scan done. 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 percent 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," Jayawardene said.
Dilshan strained his lower back during a warm-up session ahead of the third one-day match against New Zealand on November 6 but, batting with painkillers, went on to score a match-winning century.
He missed the remaining two ODIs in the series which Sri Lanka won 3-0.
Dilshan's replacement Karunaratne played two one-day internationals against England and Scotland last year.
"The selectors have made the call looking at the bigger picture, a long term opening batsman," said Jayawardene.
"Dimuth has been consistent last season and had a good 'A' team tour to South Africa as well."
Sri Lanka and New Zealand play a two-test series with the second match due to begin in Colombo on November 25.
(Editing By Alison Wildey)