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Shikhar Dhawan returning home with a hand fracture.

By Sa’adi Thawfeeq

Indian opener Shikhar Dhawan has been ruled out of the Sri Lanka Test series with a hairline fracture on his right hand.

“Shikhar Dhawan got injured in the first Test match at Galle. He went for further testing in Colombo. There is a hairline fracture he needs four to six weeks to recover. So he will be heading back home today. Stuart Binny is joining the team tonight,” said Indian team director Ravi Shastri.

Dhawan was hit on the hand while batting in the first innings of the Galle Test where he made 134 and he didn’t take the field during Sri Lanka’s second innings.

In the Indian second innings he batted with a lot of discomfort to score a sedate 28 off 83 balls where India failed to chase down the target of 176 and lost by 63 runs.

Murali Vijay who did not play at Galle due to a hamstring injury is expected to take Dhawan’s place in the opener’s slot for the second Test starting at the P Sara Oval on Thursday.

He will open the batting with Lokesh Rahul who took his place at Galle.

“Murali Vijay has responded very well to the treatment. We are very hopeful that he will be ready for the second Test match but a final call will be taken one day prior to the match,” said Shastri.

On the recalling of Binny as replacement for Dhawan, Shastri said, “With this Indian team, with this kind of bowling attack, an all-rounder is a must. I would say, more a batting all-rounder. It’s an absolute must. When you play in these conditions, you might not need five bowlers but four and a half. It could be spinning batting all-rounder or depending on the conditions.

“It’s important to get the right balance. Stuart is coming off a brilliant performance in the tour of Zimbabwe. Whenever he has got an opportunity, he has done a pretty decent job. He did a very decent job in the tour of England where we lost badly.”

Loss at Galle hurt

Describing the loss at Galle where Indian dominated for three and half days and still ended on the losing side, Shastri said, “When you lose a Test like this, it hurts you. At the end of it, it hurts your more
than some of the others because you have dominated the Test. 70% of the Test, 80% of the Test and then you have lost it. So at times you learn from this kind of result quicker than any other kind of result.
Hopefully you will see it in the next few days.”

Shastri said the mood in the dressing room was not all that good after the loss.

“We didn’t leave the dressing room for a good hour, hour and a half because everybody was hurting. But there was a good honest discussion. When you’ve won six sessions, you lose two sessions and you are 1-0 down, there is a lot to take away but there is a lot to learn as well.

“We are skirting behind any problem, there are no excuses. We discussed everything out there threadbare and it’s for us now to come out as a team and learn from what went wrong in that Test match.”