Injured Angelo Mathews to return home
The injury crisis in the Sri Lankan camp has deepened, with the allrounder Angelo Mathews set to return home after straining his right quadricep muscle during the second ODI in Nagpur on Friday. The Sri Lanka Cricket media manager Brian Thomas has confirmed to Cricinfo that the Wayamba allrounder Thissara Perera will join the squad in India on Sunday for the three remaining ODIs.
Mathews' injury is likely to take up to four weeks to heal, thereby putting him in doubt for the tri-series in Bangladesh starting on January 4. He suffered the injury while setting off for a run during his match-winning unbeaten 37, but continued his innings with the aid of a runner (Chamara Kapugedera).
The loss of Mathews is a big blow to the Sri Lankans, given his fine form with the bat. He made 99 in the third Test in Mumbai, very nearly guided his team home in a marathon chase of 415 in the first ODI in Rajkot - scoring a 33-ball 38 - and closed out the chase in another pressure situation in Nagpur, with Sri Lanka chasing 302.
The Sri Lankans had already lost the services of two strike bowlers in Dilhara Fernando and Muttiah Muralitharan, who sustained finger injuries after the first ODI. Muthumudalige Pushpakumara and Suraj Randiv were flown in as replacements. In the post-match presentation in Nagpur, captain Kumar Sangakkara joked that at least 40 players were required as cover for injuries. Perera is yet to make his international debut.
Prior to Sri Lanka's arrival in India, the touring Australians too were jolted by several such pull-outs during the seven-match ODI series. However, the injury-ravaged tourists managed to win the series 4-2. The current ODI series is squared at 1-1 with the third ODI set to get underway on Monday.