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India vs Sri Lanka: Rangana Herath to be closely monitored ahead of 2nd Test; Suranga Lakmal ruled out

Sri Lanka were down to 10 men by the first hour of the Galle Test and they were reduced to nine men by the time the fourth innings started (Asela Gunaratne and Rangana Herath were unavailable to bat). The situation seemed to have improved slightly when it was confirmed that captain Dinesh Chandimal had recovered from a bout of pneumonia and would feature in the second Test, however Sri Lanka are in another fix ahead of the Colombo Test.

According to a report on ESPNCricinfo, Rangana Herath's availability for the upcoming Test is not assured, despite being named in the squad. It has been learnt that Herath will be monitored until the eve of the upcoming Test, which starts from 3 August.

Rangana Herath captained Sri Lanka in the first Test in Dinesh Chandimal's absence. AFP

Rangana Herath captained Sri Lanka in the first Test in Dinesh Chandimal's absence. AFP

Herath, who has been a mainstay of the Sri Lankan team for quite a few years now, injured his finger while fielding during the third innings of the Galle Test. The bruise on the finger was enough to rule him out of the match's final innings as the Island nation succumbed to a 304-run loss.

When asked about the left-arm spinner's fitness, Asanka Gurusinha, Sri Lanka's cricket manager and selector said, "We have to see how he is going to come up in the next couple of days because his finger is pretty sore,"

"The day before the Test we will see whether he can drift the ball, it will come down to that. If he can without pain he will play, otherwise we will have to look at different options. The finger is not swollen but it's sore and painful," Gurusinha added.

Options are what Sri Lanka lack currently.

On 'a batting track' in the first Test, the hosts' bowlers failed to contain the Indian batsmen. Their line and lengths were ordinary on Day 1, when Shikhar Dhawan blasted 190 runs off just 168 balls.  Even Herath, the side's most experienced spinner, bowled at an economy of 3.98 and could dismiss only one Indian batsman in the first innings.

To add to their woes, Suranga Lakmal has also been ruled out due to back spasms, according to the report on The Island. The report also adds that Lahiru Thirimanne has earned a recall. Along with that, chinaman Lakshan Sandakan has also returned to the squad. Despite the reinforcements, it would be a huge loss if Sri Lanka are to play the 2nd Test, which is a must-win match, without the experience of Herath. In his absence, Chandimal might turn to Malinda Pushpakumara, a highly-rated domestic spinner, who averages 19.85 in first-class cricket and has snared 558 wickets.

India lead the three-match Test series 1-0. After the Tests, both the neighbouring nations will play a 5-match ODI series and a lone T20I. Virat Kohli and Co's tour will end on 6 September.

Published Date: Aug 01, 2017 12:46 PM | Updated Date: Aug 01, 2017 12:46 PM

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