Australia v Sri Lanka, 3rd Test, Sydney January 2, 2013

Injured Eranga doubtful for third Test

Sri Lanka's preparation for the Sydney Test has been thrown into further turmoil after Shaminda Eranga sprained an ankle during training on the eve of the match. A call on Eranga's fitness will be made before the toss on Thursday. Sri Lanka have also ruled out both Prasanna Jayawardene and Nuwan Kulasekara from the match, as both have failed to recover sufficiently from hairline fractures to a thumb and rib respectively. 

Eranga was warming up for Sri Lanka's training session in a game of football when he sprained his right ankle, and despite having several minutes on the field to recover, could only limp back to the dressing room with the help of physiotherapist Steve Mount. Sri Lanka's team management has said they are unsure whether he will recover in time for the match.

"You don't anticipate three or four guys going down in one Test match," Jayawardene said on the eve of the match. "But it happened, so we just need to sit down and see what other options we've got. We've got two guys flown in, and we're back to having a full 16 in the squad now. These are unexpected things we need to get our head around and handle the situation in the best possible way."

Eranga is Sri Lanka's fifth player and their third fast bowler to be injured on tour. In addition to Nuwan Kulasekara's rib injury that ruled him out of the second and third Tests, Chanaka Welegedara also had his series ended by a hamstring tear, which he sustained on the second day in Melbourne. Eranga's injury means all three fast bowlers who played in the Hobart Test could be unavailable in Sydney. Suranga Lakmal had been flown in from Sri Lanka as cover for Welegedara, and may take the field less than 48 hours after landing in Australia. 

Dhammika Prasad is almost guaranteed a place, and Nuwan Pradeep may also play, even if Eranga is fit. Offspinner Suraj Randiv may also make it into the XI, particularly as the SCG surface has traditionally been the most spin-friendly track in Australia. 

Elsewhere in the team, Dinesh Chandimal is set to play as the wicketkeeper-batsman in Prasanna Jayawardene's absence, and will bat in the middle order. Lahiru Thirimanne has also been flown in from Sri Lanka as cover for Kumar Sangakkara, who is out with a fractured index finger. He may step into Sangakkara's top-order spot, but opener Tharanga Paranavitana, who has been with the team throughout the tour is also vying for a place. 

Jayawardene also confirmed that opener Dimuth Karunaratne will be granted an extended run in his position.

Andrew Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Steve on January 3, 2013, 1:28 GMT

    Both Eranga and Prasad looked 2nd tier bowlers in the last test on the same pitch where Johnson looked like a bowler from a different planet. SL selectors should try to infuse new talent.

  • Manoj on January 2, 2013, 23:24 GMT

    Why the hell SL management is keeping all casualties in Australia as spectators send them home in the next available flight and bring some youth who is fit to play.

  • Dummy4 on January 2, 2013, 21:12 GMT

    Nuwan Pradeep will finally get a game... I think he is one of the most promising bowlers Sri Lanka has in tests and should have been given an extended run.

  • Dummy4 on January 2, 2013, 19:52 GMT

    If Paranivatana gets picked I'll spew, his career should be over, and Thirramanne needs the chance to step into his role. Randiv,Herath, Pradeep and Prasad should be the bowlers, as they have all been with the squad the whole way trough the tour. Even if there is some grass on the pitch, it will still turn later on, and Angelo Matthews can be used more as a seamer this match if needed.

  • manjula on January 2, 2013, 14:42 GMT

    It is crazy to play football closer to a match. Soccer is a different game. Tactics are understandable but soccer is a game that will create more injuries than not. Anyone plays soccer knows that it is easy to get ankle injuries while playing football. Why not golf?? At least the batsmen get a relaxation and chance to practice driving??? Perhaps concentration. Football, rugby etc., are games to play during the off seasons.

  • Shehan on January 2, 2013, 12:16 GMT

    When SL get white washed after losing the Sydney test, they can blame it on injuries. :)

  • Dummy4 on January 2, 2013, 7:38 GMT

    They have gone there to play football not cricket. Anyway, SL team never played cricket in the last 2 test matches, they were playing something else..LOL

  • Peter on January 2, 2013, 7:16 GMT

    Didn't he get his ankle clobbered by a Johnson drive on the last day? I recall the commentators were staggered there wasn't any injury. Perhaps it hasn't healed as well as they hoped?