Injury-hit Sri Lanka face uphill task in second Test | Daily News
Wanindu Hasaranga, the latest casualty

Injury-hit Sri Lanka face uphill task in second Test

Wanindu Hasaranga, who became the latest victim due to a leg injury, is likely to miss the second Test match as Sri Lanka face another herculean task when they take on South Africa at the ICC Test Championship played for ‘Betway Test Series’ at the Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg from January 3 to 7.

After a humiliating innings and 45-run defeat in the first test match at Centurion, which ended with four sessions to spare, hampered by muscular injuries to five of their regular senior players, they face with another uphill task by losing the services of key all-rounder Wanindu Hasaranga having being struck by a ball while fielding in the first test.

With Hasaranga’s absence, six players are on the injured list and will play sans them at the second test at Johannesburg this Sunday.

Seamers Suranga Lakmal, Lahiru Kumara, Kasun Rajitha, and Batsmen Dhananjaya de Silva, along with Dinesh Chandimal all have aggravated muscle related injuries are out of the second Test and the upcoming England series at home, if they fail to recover in due course. The absence of Wanindu Hasaranga, who made an memorable debut as an all-rounder, will be felt immensely by the Lankan camp who now will seek the services of the second string players in the squad.

Left-handers Lahiru Thrimanne and Minod Banuka fill the number four and five batting positions which were occupied by Dhananjaya and Chandimal. Hasaranga’s place will be filled either by off spin all-rounder Dilruwan Perera or left-arm leg spinner Lasith Embuldeniya, who had a memorable tour of South Africa, when they last visited in 2019. On a pitch which once again is in

favour of the bowlers it is very unlikely assist the spinners. The team management might include Dilruwan Perera, who has a better chance of getting into the side as an all-rounder, who is capable of bowling long spells while using the willow to make vital contributions, where he made 95 runs as his highest score in this format of the game. Lasith Embuldeniya had also represented his country at seven matches calming 30 wickets, while Dilruwan Perera has played 41 matches taking 156 wickets.

Meanwhile, the seam bowling department will be spearheaded by Vishwa Fernando due to the absence of his senior partners who apparently remained as the only injury free bowler, after bowling a marathon spell of over 30 overs. He will share the new ball with Dushmantha Chameera, while right-arm seamer Asitha Fernendo likely be the first change bowler, who is set to make his debut in test cricket. Chameera has a fair amount of experience in this format as he has engaged in eight matches capturing 24 wickets. Sri Lanka made a steady start at Centurion piling a formidable first inning total of 396 but a series of injuries to their batters and the

bowlers saw them lose by a big margin. On the other hand, the Proteas are likely to retain the same side which won the first Test as per their coach who was reluctant to make any changes as he was pretty confident with the present outfit. Migael Pretorius was released from the Bio-Secure Environment (BSE) due to a muscle injury to his right shoulder. He went back to his franchise for rehabilitation. Beuran Hendricks and Kagiso Rabada have been called-up to the Proteas Test squad following completion of thorough and successful COVID-19 and pre-BSE entry protocols. Hendricks joined the team a few days ago. The left-arm seamer will begin training with the team immediately ahead of the second test match. Even though Wanderers pitch retains a grass top, it remains a batting-friendly one where the batsmen who are capable of executing the right technique with patience will enjoy batting enabling them to pile up big scores apart from the bowlers who will be assisted mostly.


The Sri Lanka Team practising at the venue.