Hamstring strain puts Sri Lankan vice-captain in doubt October 31, 2007

Sangakkara in doubt for first Test

Kumar Sangakkara strained his hamstring while batting during the tour game in Adelaide © Getty Images

Kumar Sangakkara, the Sri Lankan vice-captain, is a doubtful starter for the first Test against Australia in Brisbane after scans revealed a grade one tear in his left hamstring. The injury was sustained on Saturday during the team's first warm-up match in Adelaide.

Sangakkara told Cricinfo that he remained optimistic of his chances of making the Test, which begins in Brisbane on November 8, although he will miss the second and final warm-up match against Queensland on Friday.

"I would say it's definitely a grade one tear," he said in Adelaide on Tuesday prior to flying to Queensland. "But we will have to see when the MRIs are assessed. Realistically, I'm just trying to make sure I do everything right with my treatment and make sure I get ready for the Test." His coach Trevor Bayliss added that he was "not hopeful" that he would make the first Test.

Sangakkara had only made one run in the first innings against the Chairman's XI before sustaining the injury. He had wanted to bat on with a runner, but the physiotherapist Tommy Simsek called him off the pitch. "He was quite right in taking me off as I could have made the injury bigger had I stayed on," Sangakkara said. He was rested as a precaution at first, but the pain began to worsen.

A grade one is the least serious type of tear, but he still needs daily treatment from the physio. He has since been testing his leg out in the gym and on the bike and says that he is already feeling better. "I'm not in any major pain, it's just discomfort."

The absence of Sri Lanka's vice-captain would be a big blow to the tourists who are aiming for their first Test win on Australian soil during the two-Test series.

Mahela Jayawardene, the captain, said: "He's been a vital component obviously but if he's not fit the other guys have to step up to the plate. We would love to have Kumar there but if he's not going to be there the other guys have to step up to the responsibility."

Prasanna Jayawardene will take the gloves in the second tour match. He deputised well for Sangakkara during the first warm-up in Adelaide this week, with a host of catches, but has not yet batted on tour. He has impressed before, when Sangakkara played as a specialist batsman in the three-Test series against Bangladesh in July, and he scored his first maiden Test century, too.

Chanaka Welegedara was injured in the same match, straining his right quadriceps, while Sanath Jayasuriya picked up a cold. Sujeewa de Silva is expected to fly in to cover for Welegedara, his fellow fast bowler, and could be launched straight into the side on Friday. He has been playing for the A side in Zimbabwe.

Jenny Thompson is an assistant editor at Cricinfo