Pakistan in Sri Lanka 2014 August 4, 2014

Lakmal out of Pakistan Tests


Fast bowler Suranga Lakmal will play no part in the upcoming Test series against Pakistan, having sustained severe swelling above his left ankle following the second Test against South Africa. Shaminda Eranga may be available for the first Test, however, providing he proves he has recovered well enough from a hand injury to field without complaint.

Sri Lanka had named Lakmal in the Test squad in the hope he would be fit for the Pakistan series, but though fears that Lakmal had sustained a stress fracture were allayed, the swelling persisted, leading to edema. Lakmal's availability for the three-match ODI series to follow the Tests is also under serious doubt, as his recovery is now expected to take at least three weeks. Team manager Michael de Zoysa said Sri Lanka would not name a replacement for Lakmal.

Eranga could only deliver nine overs on the first day of the South Africa Test series, having split the webbing between the thumb and index finger on his bowling hand, while fielding. That injury required eight stitches and kept him out of the second Test at the SSC, but de Zoysa says he will be in consideration for a place in the first Test against Pakistan, depending on how he fields at training in the two days prior.

Sri Lanka have taken the unusual step of naming five fast bowlers in their 15-man squad for the home series, in order to provide cover for the frontline seamers battling injury. From the three other quicks, Dhammika Prasad and Nuwan Pradeep both played in Sri Lanka's most recent Test win, at Headingley, but left-armer Chanaka Welegedara has not played Tests since December 2012.

Heavy workrates have taken their toll on Eranga and Lakmal, who have now failed to complete a Test together since early February. Both have bowled roughly 38 overs per Test this year.

Eranga has been largely injury-free over the past 18 months, apart from an ankle complaint that ruled him out of the second Test against Bangladesh earlier this year, and the blood injury he picked up against South Africa. Lakmal's injury history, however, has been of more concern. A hamstring tear prevented him from playing most of the ODIs and the two Tests in England, and his left ankle has caused him particular strife before, necessitating surgery.

Injuries to the frontline seamers means spinners Rangana Herath and Dilruwan Perera will be under even more pressure to take wickets against Pakistan, having also had high work rates during the South Africa series. Herath has bowled a phenomenal 491.4 overs in eight Tests since the New Year's Test against Pakistan. No other cricketer has delivered more than 285 overs in Tests this year.

The first Test begins in Galle on Wednesday.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Yohan on August 5, 2014, 3:57 GMT

    Sri Lanka should take this opportunity to rotate fast bowlers . Dammika Prasad needs a match after 5-per in Headingly . Nuwan Pradeep needs a crack too . Lakmal is out and if Eranga too not 100% , lets give these too a chance . My xi - Tharanga , Kaushal , Sangakkara , Mahela , Mathews , Thirimanne , Dickwella , Dilruwan , Herath ,Prasad & Nuwan Pradeep

  • Dummy4 on August 5, 2014, 2:39 GMT

    Good news for PAK. But Lakmal is valuable asset for the next WC. So it is better to keep him out at tests. Two of Dhammika, Chanaka, Eranga and Pradeep will be useful. Seekkuge Prasanna and Chathuranga de Silva is performing well in SL A.

  • Tharanga on August 5, 2014, 2:02 GMT

    SL bowlers getting injured more frequently. So it is physio's duty to to nurture players. SLC physio has continuously failed to do his duty. In early 90's it was very common to see that SL players wilted before scoring a century. That was well recovered by Alex Contoury. SLC need a physio of that calibre.

  • Delan on August 4, 2014, 22:28 GMT

    Big blow to Sri Lanka. Unfortunately because of Eranga's injury he was probably overbowled in his comeback from injury at Galle.

  • Android on August 4, 2014, 21:06 GMT

    It's sad that he is injury prone as I feel he is the most talented out of the lot. But in his absence I think Dammika Prasad should be given a chance. But SLC needs to find a good young fast bowler sooner, rather than later.

  • Rizwan1970 on August 4, 2014, 19:33 GMT

    I am not surprised, as the way he toiled hard in Gall test I though He will break down before SSC match. Should learn few lession from Amla how to manage your bowlers without over burden them. To do so the captain should have good combination of bowlers who can take advantage in any condition. Need not paranoid to fill that No 7 spot with addition batsmen, Therimanna or Vithanaga who represent that spopt during last 2 serious didn't score any runs, instead they could play with a 5th bowler

  • Android on August 4, 2014, 17:10 GMT

    spin test for the Pakistani batting line up

  • siddhartha on August 4, 2014, 16:02 GMT

    Eranga and Lakmal has the potential to form a good new ball pair.

  • Priyantha on August 4, 2014, 15:58 GMT

    Lakmal is injury prone. However, in the absence of his regular bowling partner Eranga he bowled at good pace in high 130s and hardly bowled a bad ball at the SSC as I witnessed his bowling throughout this match. The only time he went for runs was in the third day morning when Angelo Mathews went too far with the short ball theory. I would not blame Mathews for experimenting but I felt that he went bit too far. Eranga in my opinion is the best out of the whole lot and I sincerely hope that he will be fit to play in the first test against Pakistan by spearheading our pace attack. Dammika Prasad has got pace but Welagedara with his left arm seamers can provide nice variety. In addition, on his day he could be a match winner. I guess all of you have not forgotten that famous Durban test win. Regarding Tharindu Kaushal, I guess he or another quality spinner who could extract more turn out of the wicket should have played in the SSC test instead of Ajantha Mendis.

  • MUHAMMAD on August 4, 2014, 14:23 GMT

    Herath is the one I'm worried about the most for Pakistan's sake. But still wanna say this. Thanks SL cricket for playing against us every year. RESPECT. If SL didn't do that, we'd be doomed.

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