Pneu­mo­nia-hit Chandi­mal to lead Sri Lanka re­cov­ery bid

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Di­nesh Chandi­mal is ex­pected to re­turn from pneu­mo­nia to lead in­jury-hit Sri Lanka as they bid to re­bound from their record thrash­ing against In­dia in the sec­ond Test in Colombo, start­ing to­mor­row.

Chandi­mal, who was only ap­pointed last month, sat out the first Test in Galle when Vi­rat Kohli’s In­dia won by 304 runs-their big­gest mar­gin of vic­tory in terms of runs on for­eign soil. It piled yet more pres­sure on be­lea­guered Sri Lanka, whose hu­mil­i­at­ing one-day se­ries de­feat to min­nows Zim­babwe prompted for­mer cap­tain An­gelo Mathews to step down.

Sri Lanka are also bat­tling in­juries ahead of the sec­ond Test, where they are bid­ding to stay alive in the three-Test se­ries. All-rounder Asela Gu­naratne frac­tured a thumb dur­ing the first Test in Galle, and vet­eran bowler and stand-in cap­tain Ran­gana Herath also in­jured a mid­dle fin­ger. Sri Lanka’s cricket man­ager Asanka Gu­rus­inha said Chandi­mal should be fit for Colombo after his bout of pneu­mo­nia. Left-arm spin­ner Herath, who was un­able to bat in the sec­ond in­nings, is still not cer­tain. “We will give him (Herath) till the last minute to make sure that he is fit. The day be­fore the Test we will see whether he can drift the ball, it will come down to that,” said Gu­rus­inha.

Bats­man Danushka Gu­nathi­laka, who made his Test de­but in Galle, is likely to give up his place to Chandi­mal, while Kusal Mendis is ex­pected to re­turn to his num­ber three bat­ting po­si­tion.

‘OUR PLAY­ERS ARE CA­PA­BLE’

Sri Lankan chief se­lec­tor Sanath Jaya­suriya backed his team to bounce back at the Sin­halese Sports Club Ground, re­call­ing In­dia’s turn­around dur­ing the pre­vi­ous se­ries in 2015. “In­dia did come back the last time they were here, after los­ing in Galle. This is cricket, and if we ap­ply our­selves and want (to come back) then we can,” Jaya­suriya told The Times Of In­dia.

“This is some­thing we proved last year when we beat Aus­tralia, then world’s num­ber one Test team, 3-0 when they were here. It wasn’t a one-off win be­cause we can’t win three Tests in a row with­out play­ing well. “So, our play­ers are ca­pa­ble. We need to give them lot of con­fi­dence,” said the for­mer star all-rounder. But Sri Lanka, now sev­enth in the world rank­ings, will have to show rapid im­prove­ments against In­dia, who dom­i­nated the open­ing Test. Kohli said he was fac­ing his own se­lec­tion headache with opener Lokesh Rahul avail­able for se­lec­tion after re­cov­er­ing from vi­ral fever.

Shikhar Dhawan, who scored 190 in the first in­nings, and Ab­hi­nav Mukund, whose 81 steered the team’s sec­ond in­nings, have made the open­ing slot a dilemma for the se­lec­tors. But Rahul is ex­pected to make the start­ing line-up in place of Mukund. The match will mark bats­man Chetesh­war Pu­jara’s 50th Test. He hit a pa­tient 153 in the first in­nings of his 49th game to im­prove his av­er­age to 52.18.

“There have been ups and downs, but look­ing at the re­cent form, I will be look­ing forward to play in the 50th Test match and score some runs for the team,” the 29-year-old Pu­jara said. —AFP

—AFP

COLOMBO: Sri Lankan cricket cap­tain Di­nesh Chandi­mal catches a ball dur­ing a prac­tice ses­sion at the Sin­halease Sports Club (SSC) Ground in Colombo yes­ter­day. The sec­ond Test cricket match be­tween In­dia and Sri Lanka starts in Colombo to­mor­row.

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