England v Sri Lanka, 2nd Test, Lord's, 5th day June 7, 2011

Dilshan in doubt for series decider


Tillakaratne Dilshan, Sri Lanka's captain and Man of the Match in the second Test at Lord's, fears he will not be fit to play in the series decider at the Rose Bowl on June 16, after being advised to rest for three to four weeks following a hairline fracture to his right thumb.

Dilshan's first-innings 193 was the outstanding performance of a match that petered out into a stalemate on the final day, with England's declaration target of 343 providing no incentive to take risks on an unresponsive wicket. Although he was padded up and ready to bat if needed, Dilshan stepped down from his opener's role, and remained unused as Sri Lanka closed on 127 for 3.

"At the moment I am out for the third Test," said Dilshan at the close of play. "The physio and doctors have advised that it will take three to four weeks to heal. I have ten days [before the third Test] so if it's a quick recovery, it might be that I can play, or else I'll give a youngster a chance and be ready for the one-dayers."

That youngster is likely to be the 21-year-old left-hander, Lahiru Thirimanne, who played in three ODIs in 2009-10, but has yet to make his Test debut. He is now certain to play in Sri Lanka's three-day warm-up against Essex later this week, with the prospect of higher honours to follow. "He is batting really well in the nets and ready to play international cricket," said Dilshan. "I think if I can't play, I can give him a chance to open the batting."

Despite the injury, Dilshan's team-mate Mahela Jayawardene backed his captain to play through the pain. "If he's ruled out, that is something we'll need to cope with," he told ESPNcricinfo. "But knowing him I reckon he'll be okay to play the Test match.

"After all, the way he batted on after two really painful blows shows what determination he has got, and though he didn't field yesterday or bat today, that's simply because we didn't want to take any risks with him," he added. "We wanted to give him three extra days to settle that sore thumb and see how it comes up.

"He'll now have five or six more days to rest and if he's feeling well enough to hold a bat, I know he'll want to play that Test match. If he's not there, it's going to be a big blow, but fingers crossed for him. Like we've always done when things get tough, we'll back the guys to stand up just like they did in this match."

In Dilshan's absence, the captaincy would pass to his predecessor, Kumar Sangakkara, who led the side in the field on the final two days of the Lord's Test. "We have one more chance to level the series so we have to come out strong at the Rose Bowl and try to win and draw the series," said Dilshan. "All the players have that mindset for playing good cricket at the moment."

Despite the obvious parallels with the situation in Cardiff, when Sri Lanka were left to bat for 51 overs on the final day and were bowled out for 82 in 24.4, Dilshan insisted that no such negative thoughts had crossed the team's mind when Andrew Strauss's afternoon declaration left them with 58 overs to negotiate at Lord's.

The draw was set up by another disciplined anchor role from Dilshan's opening partner, Tharanga Paranavitana, who made 44, while the veteran Mahela Jayawardene also helped soak up the pressure of the situation in a 53-run stand for the second wicket.

"We just talked about batting normally, whatever we got, 50 overs or whatever," said Dilshan. "Just bat those 50 overs and don't think about the result. They all played really well and I'm happy Mahela spent some time in the middle. The batting group did a great job."

Andrew Miller is UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on June 9, 2011, 6:27 GMT

    @lijihas -2nd turn coming mate...well your comments makes not sence at all...we are talikng about the game here and not about Sangakkra and the rankings...well we all know how Indian's won the test status..go an have a look at the history and what made u win the test status it was because of us Sri Lankans..get you facts right mate....

  • Manesh on June 9, 2011, 3:43 GMT

    @LankanWonder. Fortunately our team were not in a situation to give excuses. We one at least 1 test in all away matches. First do some homework and argue. You captain do not have any more excuses remaining because you are losing all matches!. It will be better if SCB can assign a commission to find excuses for your team...lol

  • Dummy4 on June 9, 2011, 1:28 GMT

    we missed u dilshan.hopefully u can come back to one day series

  • Grant on June 8, 2011, 21:03 GMT

    @ranilranathunga I for one have never claimed this England side is "Great". I do however think they are pretty good. They may (I repeat may) also be the best test side in the world, because no other team at the moment is great either

  • Valavan on June 8, 2011, 18:20 GMT

    @SL Fans, first win it and then speak or loathe as a typical asian. well except Paranavithana and Dilshan, which SL batsman contributed. England has certain reservations, they are still on the path, they have made 5 fifties and 2 centuries in Lords test whereas SL has one big hundred and a fifty, England is not the windies of 80s or aussie of 2000s, Strauss was cautious about declaration and that back fired, on the other hand SL didnt do something great, when mahela and sanga make big 100s back in SL, why cant they make some with WEAK English bowling. Dont overhype SL team here, but this English team is not the same as it was in the past, by the end of this series, most of you will come to know about it.

  • Al on June 8, 2011, 17:18 GMT

    Le Pom ...I dont feel better or worse for my comments. I am not a fan of any team but always sympathize with the underdogs and at the moment I feel I have to defend the current SL team who have been getting a lot of stick from Cricket journalists. Of the 3 teams that you speak of that can 'create a win' I would say India definitely but not England and S. Africa and if we are talking cricket in general then England and S.Africa have never won a world cup so I dont know what they 'create'. A correct definition of ' holding your own' is to do as well as anyone else (Thesaurus) and SL inspite of a mediocre bowling attack are doing just that.

  • Ramesh on June 8, 2011, 15:32 GMT

    @ Eng fans- U r point makes no sense, yes we all agree England were the better side so far in the series who are playing in home conditions, no doubt about that. But SL did not get blown away as many pundits predicted and it proved Eng may be the better side but not a great side!!! SL are undergoing a transition period and will settle down very soon but even then Eng are struggling to beat SL in their home conditions. Yes Brits u can be happy u were the better side so far but u will be proved that Eng side is a average team very soon nad no great team by any means..... @ faizalsehwag- Sri Lankans Pussy cats in away matches???he he he what a joke-world cup semis in 2007 in south africa, finalists in west indies, has won test matches in two occasions in England and won test matches in most countries, what a funny comment

  • Athula on June 8, 2011, 15:06 GMT

    Lahiru Thirimanne is the best correct stroke maker I have seen after sometimes. He is a brilliant stroke makers. He had two good domestics seasons as well. Last year he scored two brilliant 100s against Pakistan & India in warm up matches . His batting style defiantly suits for these seaming and bouncy wickets. Also I would like to see Dinesh Chandimal bats at no 5 instead of Thilan Samaraweera . These two youngsters will be our future cricketing heroes.

  • Dummy4 on June 8, 2011, 14:56 GMT

    @5wombats-Well we made some active comments to your silly remarks made...why don't you understand? Yes!! the truth hurts? we are not the only team ended up with " if's and but's" The same story was told by Mr.Strauss in his intereview....shamless to see how the Englishman bowled in Lords....come on..40 odd leg bys..you meant to say your pace attack cannot bowl streight...the truth is England can only do well on day that has bad weather..and on Sunny conditions in Lord's they were out played by the Lankan's ..I say you guy's got lucky on cardiff mate...and you guy's imagined the same at Lord's wake up???

  • Dummy4 on June 8, 2011, 14:38 GMT

    Lord.emsworth, I don't think that beating Australia in Australia is so easy. We will see when other teams tour there but while England made them look bad if you look at the team they still have they are not that bad. The batting and pace bowling is not so bad but they may struggle in Sri Lanka due to a lack of spin options. I still think they will prove hard to beat, at home at least. For Sri Lanka, they have not yet looked capable of winning a test in England. Never say never but they really have to improve their bowling to have a chance in the next match, a draw is not good enough when you are losing the series.

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