Mishra, 32, who has taken 43 wickets in 13 matches, last played a Test at the Oval during the England tour in 2011.
But the success of Pakistani leg-spinner Yasir Shah during the recent series in Sri Lanka, where he claimed 24 wickets to lead his team to a 2-1 win, prompted the selectors to go with Mishra.
“Having seen how the Sri Lankan batsmen fared against Pakistan, our preference was for Mishra who has also done well in domestic cricket,” chairman of selectors Sandeep Patil told reporters in New Delhi.
Mishra will partner two off-spinners — Harbhajan Singh and Ravichandran Ashwin — in India’s first Test-series in the island nation since 2010, when the three-match series ended in a 1-1 draw.
Mishra replaces injured leg-spinner Karn Sharma in the only change to the 15-man squad selected for the rain-ruined drawn Test in Bangladesh in June.
Young batsman Lokesh Rahul, who missed the Bangladesh trip due to dengue fever, was back as one of the seven specialist batsmen.
The squad includes four seamers in Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav and Varun Aaron to perform on wickets that usually assist early bounce and seam movement.
The series will mark the end of the international career of Sri Lankan batting great Kumar Sangakkara, who will retire after playing the first two Tests.
The 37-year-old left-hander is Test cricket’s leading scorer among players who are still active, with 12,305 runs from 132 matches at an average of 58.04 with 38 centuries.
With the Indian board still to name a successor to coach Duncan Fletcher, whose term ended after the World Cup in February-March, former Test captain Ravi Shastri will head the squad as team director.
Shastri will be assisted by three assistant coaches in Sanjay Bangar (batting), Bharat Arun (bowling) and Ramakrishnan Sridhar (fielding).
India’s tour opens with a three-day warm-up match select team at the Premadasa stadium in Colombo from August 6 before the first Test gets under way in Galle on August 12.
The remaining two Tests will be played in Colombo, at the P. Sara Oval from August 20 and the Sinhalese Sports Club from August 28.
The tour does not feature any one-day or Twenty20 matches.
Virat Kohli (captain), Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, Lokesh Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Wriddhiman Saha, Ravichandran Ashwin, Harbhajan Singh, Amit Mishra, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Varun Aaron and Ishant Sharma.