Sri Lanka already without their consistent opener Dimuth Karunaratne due to a finger injury and one-nil down in the three-Test series suffered further body blows with their most experienced batter Angelo Mathews and fast bowler Lahiru Gamage both returning home and being ruled out for the rest of the series.
“Angelo is returning home for personal reasons because his wife is expecting their second child. Gamage has suffered a fractured finger while batting in the first Test,” said chief selector Graeme Labrooy.
The two players were due to return home yesterday. They will be replaced by fast bowling all-rounder Dasun Shanaka and batsman Danushka Gunathilaka who were expected to leave for the Caribbean last night.
Mathews who has scored just one Test hundred in his last 40 innings was dismissed for 11 and 35 in the first Test at Port of Spain which Sri Lanka lost by 226 runs. Due to his ongoing battle with injuries Mathews, a all-rounder was picked only for his batting for the series.
Gamage was rapped on the right gloves by a ‘snorter’ from fast bowler Shannon Gabriel in the Sri Lanka second innings which later turned out to be a fracture.
As both Shanaka and Gunathilaka have been named in the Sri Lanka ‘A’ team to tour Bangladesh starting later this month, Labrooy said that they will be replaced in the ‘A’ team by the standbys picked for the tour.
The second Test against West Indies commences at Gros Islet today with top order batsman Dhananjaya de Silva set to return to the side after missing the first Test due to his father’s untimely death.
Whether Sri Lanka will want to replace Gamage with another fast bowler or a spinner would depend on the state of the pitch prepared for the Test.
Commenting on Sri Lanka’s loss in the first Test, Labrooy said the match was lost on the second day when Sri Lanka allowed West Indies last four wickets to add more than 150 runs recovering from 237-6 to 414-8 declared in their first innings.
“We weren’t able to keep on the pressure built earlier and allowed them to post a competitive total,” said Labrooy. Sri Lanka was dismissed for totals of 185 and 226. - ST (Daily News)