Jayawardene, who opted out of the ongoing limited-overs series for personal reasons, was named in the 16-man squad led by all-rounder Angelo Mathews, Sri Lanka Cricket said in a statement.
Jayawardene, 36, is one of 11 batsmen worldwide and only the second Sri Lankan alongside current team-mate Kumar Sangakkara to score more than 10,000 runs in Test cricket. The stylish right-hander has made 10,806 runs in 138 Tests at an average of 49.56, with 31 centuries and 45 half-centuries. Vishwa Fernando, a 22-year-old left-arm seamer, is the new face in the squad.
He has claimed 37 wickets in 15 first-class matches. All-rounder Dilruwan Perera, who has yet to play Test cricket after seven limited-overs appearances, was also picked by the selectors ahead of unorthodox spinner Ajantha Mendis.
The first Test starts in Abu Dhabi on December 31. The second will be played in Dubai from January 8 to 12 and the third in Sharjah from January 16 to 20. Sri Lanka's Test squad: Angelo Mathews (capt), Dinesh Chandimal, Dimuth Karunaratne, Kaushal Silva, Kumar Sangakkara, Lahiru Thirimanne, Mahela Jayawardene, Prasanna Jayawardene, Nuwan Kulasekara, Suranga Lakmal, Shaminda Eranga, Vishwa Fernando, Sachithra Senananyake, Nuwan Pradeep, Rangana Herath, Dilruwan Perera.