Sri Lanka have been hit by a plethora of injuries in the ongoing two match Test series against South Africa. Dhananjaya de Silva has already been ruled out of the last Test after he suffered an injury during the first Test. Suranga Lakmal, Kasun Rajitha, Lahiru Kumara and Dinesh Chandimal are almost certain to miss out on the second Test match, compounding the Lankans’ injury woes.
Dinesh Chandimal is the only player who is likely to recover from injury in time for the home series against England, which begins on January 14. Chandimal, Kasun Rajitha and Lahiru Kumara have all picked up hamstring injuries and de Silva strained a tendon in his left thigh. Suranga Lakmal suffered a hamstring injury in lead-up to the first Test match, and played no part in the Boxing Day Test.
“What the doctor says is that when you’re tired, the first area that feels the strain is the groin,” team manager Ashantha de Mel told ESPNcricinfo. “I’ve never been on a tour with so many injuries. We’ve not played a Test match since February, so that must have had an effect.”
Lakmal’s absence will be a big blow to the visitors. Not only has Lakmal been exceptional in the two previous tour to South Africa but he is also the most experienced bowler in the Sri Lankan bowling camp. In the absence of Lakmal, Rajitha and Lahiru Kumara, the visitors will have a pace bowling combination of Dushmantha Chameera and Vishwa Fernando, who have played fewer than 10 Tests each, and Asitha Fernando, who will make his debut.
“Suranga did a fitness test earlier today and failed it,” de Mel said. “We’ll have to start upping his workloads and build him up, otherwise he could get injured again.” Sri Lanka have taken 21 players on the South African tour for exactly this type of contingency. Lahiru Thirimanne and Minod Bhanuka are likely to replace Dinesh Chandimal and Dhananjaya de Silva for the last Test match.