Two forced changes as Mathews returns home ahead of 2nd Test
Sri Lanka have been dealt a severe a blow ahead of the 2nd Test against West Indies, with former Test skipper and vital middle order batsman Angelo Mathews returning home for the birth of his second child ThePapare.com learns.
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Fast bowler Lahiru Gamage will also return along with Mathews, after he suffered an injury (fractured finger) while batting in the 1st Test. Both players will be back in Sri Lanka today, while Danushka Gunathilaka and Dasun Shanaka have been named as replacements and will fly out of the island tonight. Gunathilaka and Shanaka were set to fly out to Bangladesh with the Sri Lanka A team before being named as replacements.
Sri Lanka succumbed to a 226-run loss in the opening Test after their batting failed in both innings with Kusal Mendis the only batsman to go past the half century mark making a superb 102 in the second innings.
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Mathews was given a torrid time in the first innings by the paceman Shannon Gabriel, who even hit him on the helmet with a lethal bumper, before he was eventually dismissed for 14 late on day two. Mathews fought hard with a gritty 31 in the second innings, while Gamage went wicket-less in both innings.
Dhananjaya de Silva – who missed the 1st Test after arriving late in the Caribbean islands following his father’s unfortunate demise – is set to replace Mathews and bat at number 3 with Dinesh Chandimal moving down the order, while Sri Lanka will ponder if to hand Mahela Udawatte a Test debut after Kusal Perera looked out of sorts in his return to red ball cricket.
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Rangana Herath’s place in the Test team has been questioned for the first time in a very long time and it wouldn’t be a surprise if Sri Lanka do take the bold option and hand a Test debut to wrist spinner Jeffrey Vandersay, with the series on the line. Asitha Fernando is likely to replace Gamage while it will be interesting to see if Sri Lanka selectors will back their youth over experience in this Test match, by also bringing in Akila Dananjaya – who picked up 8 wickets in his only Test against Bangladesh earlier this year – in place of the aging Dilruwan Perera.
Sri Lanka probable XI : Kusal Mendis, Mahela Udawatte, Dhananjaya de Silva, Dinesh Chandimal ©, Roshen Silva, Niroshan Dickwella, Dilruwan Perera/Akila Dananjaya, Suranga Lakmal, Jeffrey Vandersay/Rangana Herath, Asitha Fernando, Lahiru Kumara