TILLAKARATNE DILSHAN considered following Lasith Malinga into retirement from Test cricket this year, and Australian Big Bash teams were keen on signing one of the world's most potent short-form batsmen. Fortunately for Sri Lanka, Dilshan decided to stick around for one more Test tour of Australia.
As much as Sri Lanka would love Malinga to lend its attack some firepower in the remaining two Tests in Melbourne and Sydney, the slippery paceman was confined to giving advice to the touring bowlers in the MCG nets on Friday and a comeback is not on the cards.
''He's giving some tips,'' Dilshan said. ''He's playing here [for the Melbourne Stars]. He might know what's happening with the wicket. I think it's good for the bowlers to hang around with him. I don't think he is coming back to Test cricket. He wants to play only one-day and Twenty20s and be 100 per cent fit rather than play five days. A comeback is good for the side, definitely, but I don't think he is going to change his mind.''
Dilshan was tempted to join the parade of short-form specialists after quitting the captaincy and his management had been in touch with BBL teams. His decision to stick with Tests - at least until after this tour - has been vindicated with three centuries in his past four matches including a vital 147 in Hobart.
At 36, he will consider his Test future again after the Australia series. ''Last year is not many Test matches, two against Bangladesh, two against Zimbabwe and three against Pakistan, so there was a chance to groom youngsters,'' the opening batsman said.
''One-dayers, definitely I am going to play until 2015. I'm not sure how long I'm going to play Test cricket. After this series I'm going to take the decision. [The Sydney Test] might be my last from out of the country [Sri Lanka]. I am focused this tour, in Australia it's not easy against a great attack and I always try to take the challenge. I am enjoying every single ball in the middle, maybe that's why I'm making big runs.''
A changing of the guard is imminent in Sri Lankan cricket, with Thilan Samaraweera indicating this might be his last overseas Test tour and Mahela Jayawardene to relinquish the captaincy after the series.
Sri Lanka are expected to name an unchanged team for the Boxing Day Test after Australia won in the final hour in Hobart by 137 runs.