Chandimal set to return, Herath doubtful for second Test

Chandimal is on track to return for the second Test against India

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Sri Lanka captain Dinesh Chandimal is likely to be back for the second Test against India, but the same cannot be said about veteran spinner Rangana Herath.

Chandimal missed the first Test after he was hospitalised with pneumonia, while Herath injured his finger during the match in Galle and did not bat in the second innings.

“Dinesh should be fit, he actually played this (Sunday) morning and he has batted the last couple of days,” Sri Lanka’s cricket manager Asanka Gurusinha said. “We have to see how he (Herath) is going to come up in the next couple of days because his finger is pretty sore. We will give him till the last minute to make sure that he is fit.

“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.”

With Chandimal returning, there is a lot of uncertainty over whether batsman Danushka Gunathilaka will retain his spot in the side.

However, there is a possibility he might since all-rounder Asela Gunaratne has been ruled out of the series after having his thumb surgically repaired.

“It’s for just one game, we pushed Kusal to four. Danushka was in form and you can’t bat him in the middle order,” Gurusinha said. “We couldn’t get him to open either because the openers were already there, that’s why we got Kusal to four for this Test.

“When Chandimal comes back, he will go back to No. 3 straight away. He is our No. 3 and we are grooming him for that position definitely.

“We have Dhananjaya (de Silva) in the squad and we have Danushka as well. We haven’t looked at whether this is the squad we are going to have for the second Test. We will have a chat later today and see whether we will need someone from outside or what combination we are going to play.

“It comes down to whether we are going to play six or seven batsmen, we will have to decide on that after looking at the wicket.”

Sri Lanka lost the first Test by 304 runs, which is their largest margin of defeat in the longest format.

When asked what went wrong, Gurusinha pointed out that the batsmen failed to get the job done in both innings as Sri Lanka were bowled out for 291 and 245 respectively. India, on the other hand, made 600 in their first innings and 240/3 before declaring in their second innings.

“Getting 600 runs it always affects which is a difficult thing, but our batsmen on that track I don’t think they handled it well because it wasn’t a track to get 291 in the first innings. That was a 400-run track,” he said. “Even on the fourth day, it wasn’t doing much, it wasn’t difficult when you see the way everyone batted.

“When you are playing the No. 1 side, they are very patient they’ll bowl a good line and length and wait. They tested our patience and they won. They were good in that and we took more risks. Batting overall, when you look at it, we didn’t handle it well.”

Gurusinha added that results in Test cricket are becoming more common due to the faster pace at which the game is being played.

“These days in Test cricket, the game has changed a lot because of T20. They are playing it at a very fast rate getting 300-350 in a day is nothing new in Test cricket,” he said. “Sometimes if you try to bat long, you can go into a negative frame of mind. You need to play positively but positively is not hitting every ball, it is playing according to your plans. Our execution of plans was the main problem.

“Nobody scored a hundred from our side in the last two Tests, even against Zimbabwe. That’s what we need. We need one of the top four batsmen to get 150 or 160 and a couple of others to get 70s and 80s. As soon as that happens it will give us a 400-plus total.”

The second Test between Sri Lanka and India gets underway on Thursday in Colombo.

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