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FILE PHOTO: Cricket - Sri Lanka v South Africa Ð Sri Lanka Team's Practice Session - Pallekele, Sri Lanka Ð August 4, 2018 Ð Sri Lanka's Upul Tharanga shows a shot next to coach Thilan Samaraweera during a practice session ahead of their third One Day International (ODI) cricket match against South Africa. REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte/File Photo

WELLINGTON: New Zealand Cricket added former Sri Lanka batsman and batting coach Thilan Samaraweera to their support staff on Tuesday for next month’s two-test series in the island country.

The Black Caps on Monday named four frontline spinners in their squad for the two tests, which will mark the beginning of the World Test Championship for both teams.

“We’re delighted to welcome Thilan into our environment for the test phase of the tour,” New Zealand coach Gary Stead said in a statement.

“His knowledge of Sri Lankan conditions will be invaluable and he’ll offer great assistance to Peter Fulton (batting coach) on his first tour.

“Having an extra support coach worked really well for us at the World Cup where we had Luke Ronchi on board, and we’re sure Thilan will also offer a lot to the group.”

Middle order batsman Samaraweera, now 42, scored over 5,000 runs from 81 tests for Sri Lanka at an average of 48.76 with 14 centuries in the format before retiring in 2013. He has worked as the batting coach of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in the past.

The first test will start in Galle on Aug. 14 before Colombo hosts the second from Aug. 22. - REUTERS

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