Sri Lanka vs India 2017: Suranga Lakmal ruled out, Rangana Herath doubtful for 2nd Test
What’s the story?
Sri Lanka pacer Suranga Lakmal has been deemed unavailable for the second Test of the side's ongoing Test series against India due to back spasms. The latest addition to Sri Lanka’s growing list of injuries, Lakmal did not take part in the first Test as well, with the management preferring Nuwan Pradeep and Lahiru Kumara as their pace bowling options.
In case you didn’t know…
The hosts were reduced to 10 men in the opening session of the first Test itself, with Asela Gunaratne sustaining a fractured thumb while attempting a difficult catch on the field. They further shrunk to nine when Rangana Herath, their interim captain, suffered a finger injury and was unavailable to bat in the final innings.
They eventually lost the Test by 304 runs, their largest defeat in the longest format.
The heart of the matter
The Sri Lanka physio has had his hands full lately: before Gunaratne and Herath’s injuries, first choice captain Dinesh Chandimal was ruled out of the first Test with pneumonia. He has been cleared to play the second Test, most likely at the expense of Danushka Gunathilaka, while Herath’s situation is being closely monitored.
Also returning to the squad will be Lahiru Thirimanne, the 27-year-old who last featured in an international game in 2016, against England at Lord’s. Although his form isn’t very promising, the selectors would be banking on his 26-Test experience to bring some solidity to the side.
The 30-year-old Lakmal's last Test was against Zimbabwe in July this year, where he failed to pick up a single wicket. He was also a part of the Lankan team during the Champions Trophy in England.
Herath is being ‘closely monitored’ and a call on him will be taken on the eve of the second Test, scheduled to start on August 3 at the SSC grounds in Colombo.
While the news of Chandimal’s return might give the despondent Lankan fans some hope, it would be a tad harsh on Gunathilaka, who made his debut in the Galle Test. The team’s manager and selector, Asanka Gurusinha had clearly said earlier that Kusal Mendis' demotion to No. 4 and Gunathilaka’s inclusion at No. 3 was just for one Test.
Lakmal might not be entirely missed by the hosts, whose new ball combination of Pradeep and Kumara did well in the first innings, picking up a combined nine out of 10 wickets, a rarity for pacers on Sri Lankan wickets.