June 9, 2023

Sri Lanka’s hopes of squaring the Test series against England have received a blow with the news that captain Dimuth Karunaratne is set to remain sidelined.

Opening batsman Karunaratne pulled out on the eve of the first of two back-to-back matches in Galle, suffering discomfort from the hairline fracture in his left thumb incurred while hitting his 10th Test hundred against South Africa earlier this month.

Only Dinesh Chandimal, who led in his absence, has more hundreds amongst the current squad while the 32-year-old’s 4,657 runs are second to veteran Angelo Mathews, further highlighting his value.

However, Sri Lanka coach Mickey Arthur suggested the left-hander’s return was ‘unlikely’, adding: ‘We will make a decision over the next day or two.’

Number 3 Kusal Mendis could be axed for Friday’s second Test after following his recent run of four consecutive noughts with a scratchy 15 in the second innings of the seven-wicket defeat.

‘He is under pressure. International batsmen, when not scoring, are always under the pump,’ Arthur said.

However, experienced fast bowler Suranga Lakmal is now match-fit in a trend reversal of recent weeks for the beleaguered Sri Lankans.


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