Sangakkara doubt for first Test after hand injury
Kumar Sangakkara is a doubt for the opening Test against South Africa after splitting the webbing on his right hand during the warm-up match against an Invitational XI in Benoni. His concerns added to Sri Lanka's problems as they ended the rain-hit three-day match in a more wounded state than when they began having also watched Nuwan Pradeep tear his right hamstring.
Pradeep suffered his injury after bowling ten deliveries on the second day and, while he was not immediately ruled out of the tour, it seems likely he'll soon fly home . Sri Lanka were already without four injured quicks who didn't make the original squad. Sangakkara, meanwhile, faces a tight timeframe to be ready for the first Test at Centurion on Thursday after tearing webbing between the first and second fingers on his right hand while fielding at point and did not bat on the final day.
He has had three stitches in the wound and hopes "it will settle over the next three to four days." However, although the injury was played down by team manager Anura Tennekoon, Sangakkara himself was cautious about his prospects. "We just have to keep an eye on it and see how we go," he said. "That's the annoying thing about these little injuries. We can't say for certain."
One thing Sangakkara was sure of was that he will not take the field next week unless he is declared fully fit, even though he is able to hold a bat with his current injury. "You probably could [play] but you don't want to hamper the side by being half-fit," he said. "You need to be 100% to play in a Test match. I have to be confident that I can handle a bat, otherwise I won't play."
There is a glimmer of hope for Sri Lanka, though. Their bowling reserves may be beefed up by the return to fitness of two of the four injured seamers who are currently back home. Prior to their departure to South Africa, Nuwan Kulasekara, Dhammika Prasad, Shaminda Eranga and Suranga Lakmal were all ruled out of their tour but the former two could be called back into the side.
"It's not been a great few months. We've got eight or nine really top-class fast bowlers but when you have half of them nursing injuries it doesn't help the side's cause," Sangakkara said. "Kulasekara and Dhammika Prasad both have just come back to bowling now so they will stand a good chance of coming back on the tour."
No replacement players have been named yet but Sri Lanka are expected to make assessments in the next two days and take a call about whether they need additional players ahead of the first Test.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent