COLOMBO: Sri Lanka captain Dinesh Chandimal has been ruled out of the third Test against England after he failed to sufficiently recover from the groin strain he had sustained during the first Test. Opener Danushka Gunathilaka has been brought into the squad as his replacement.
Team management had hoped Chandimal would be available for the SSC Test, after the initial prognosis had been that he would take two weeks to recover. But despite having sat out the second Test in Pallekele, the injury still lingers.
“I did a fitness test on Monday, and afterwards there were still symptoms of this injury,” Chandimal told ESPNcricinfo. “The physio has said it will take about another week for it to be 100%.”
Gunathilaka, meanwhile, comes back into the side after initially being left out of the Test squad. In his most recent involvement in the longest format, Gunathilaka had seriously broken curfew in the middle of a Test – just the latest in a string of disciplinary mis-steps over the last two years. It is possible Gunathilaka will directly enter the squad, with incumbent opener Kaushal Silva having been unable to make an impact over the first two Tests.
With the ongoing series already decided, and with a very busy southern-hemisphere schedule ahead, Sri Lanka will be especially keen for Chandimal to make a full recovery before he takes the field again. Sri Lanka leave for New Zealand on December 4 for a two-Test tour, before they travel to Australia in January, then South Africa in February.
Including this next match, however, Chandimal will have missed five of Sri Lanka’s six most recent Tests – three of those absences being due to ball tampering and spirit of cricket related suspensions.
Fast bowler Suranga Lakmal is likely to captain Sri Lanka again. Having made 122 runs across both innings in Pallekele, batsman Roshen Silva is again set to fill Chandimal’s position in the middle order.