Sri Lanka lost the first of the three Test series against India by 304 runs, following which the absence of some of their injured players was felt. And as if their woes were not many already, pacer Asuna Gunaratne also injured himself during the opening Test at Galle. The biggest concern for the hosts is the number of prominent players injured. Besides, their team selection has been a bit bizarre.
The reason to keep out players like Dasun Shanaka or Lakshan Sandakan was best known to the team management. Here are 5 players who the Islanders are missing at the moment.
The 26-year-old wicketkeeper batsman is yet to recover from the injury he sustained during the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 against India.
Chasing 322 to win, Perera responded with a gritty 44-ball 47 before looking in pain and retiring hurt. Sri Lanka won the game but Perera is yet to recover from the hamstring injury.
The Kalubowila-born left-hander has played 10 Tests for Sri Lanka in which he has amassed 565 runs at an average of 31.38. Sri Lanka’s middle order came under particular scrutiny after the 2nd innings against India, when Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews and Dilruwan Perera could muster only 2, 36, 2 and 21 runs, respectively.
That was when Kusal Perera’s absence was sorely felt.
With the achievements Prasad’s bio boasts of, he could have come in handy for Sri Lanka in times of crisis. Prasad injured his shoulder back in 2015 in a tour game against Leicestershire, after which he has still not been able to regain complete fitness.
The 34-year-old, who has taken 75 wickets at 35.97 over his career of 25 Tests, bowls the right length and can swing the ball both ways.
His constant absence has been a significant blow to Sri Lanka. Prasad was the team’s pace spearhead through the year 2015, during which he claimed 41 wickets at an average of 24.95.
Batting all-rounder Asela Gunaratne will be out for up to two months after sustaining an injury on his finger on the morning of the first day of the first Test agaist India. The 31-year-old scored an unbeaten 80 in the second innings of the one-off Test against Zimbabwe to help Sri Lanka win by four wickets. He was also awarded the Man of the Match for the same.
The middle order batsman was rushed to Colombo for a surgery after hurting his finger in an attempt to take a catch of Shikhar Dhawan’s ball off the bowling of Lahiru Kumara. The catch was put down, and the Indian opener later went on to score a century.
He made his Test debut in October 2016 and has played 6 Tests so far in which he has scored 455 runs and taken 3 wickets.
The 25-year-old last played an international Test in December 2016 against South Africa, which marked his return to international cricket after a seven-month layoff due to a fractured back. He was included in the squad for the one-off Test against Zimbabwe but not in the playing XI.
The bouncer is his primary weapon for the tall player, a weapon which he used to his advantage in a Test against New Zealand in 2015 where he returned figures of 5 for 47 and 4 for 68.
His pace makes him a threat to the best batsmen in the business. He has shown promise in his brief career of 6 Tests in which he has taken 22 wickets. It is still not clear why the pacer is not a part of the on-going series.
The right-arm fast bowler has been ruled out of the series against India due to back spasms. The 30-year-old missed the opening Test in Galle as the hosts opted to play Lahiru Kumara and Nuwan Pradeep as their two seamers.
According to reports, the bowler was troubled by back pain even during the Zimbabwe series at home.
He has played 37 Tests for Sri Lanka in which he has dismissed 82 batsmen and has scored 411 runs.
In December 2016, he claimed a 5 wicket haul against the Proteas at Port Elizabeth to become only the second Sri Lankan to have a fifer in South Africa. With a deal of experience, and decent records as well, he could have been the leader of the pace attack against India.