DHAKA // Sri Lanka's Ajantha Mendis flew into Dhaka on Monday after fully recovering from an ankle injury. The spinner was initially picked for the two-Test series against Bangladesh, but was dropped after sustaining the injury in a local match. His place was taken by the left-arm slow bowler Rangana Herath. "My ankle is all right now and I have no pain," Mendis said. Mendis was cleared by the physio Ranjith Nanayakkarawasam to play last week, but the former Sri Lanka Cricket interim committee chief Arjuna Ranatunga had refused to grant him permission to travel to Bangladesh for financial reasons. However, the sports minister Gamini Lokuge, who has dissolved the interim committee and handed charge of Sri Lankan cricket to the secretary of the sports ministry S Liyanagama, cleared Mendis to travel to Bangladesh. Mendis is now expected to play in the second Test which starts on Jan 3 in Chittagong. The unorthodox finger spinner was declared Man of the Series on his Test debut against India in the summer.
Herath will remain with the team, making it a 16-member squad. Sri Lanka are in command of the first Test in Dhaka after taking an overall lead of 406 runs after the third day. Monday is a rest day due to parliamentary elections. *Agencies