Australia in Sri Lanka, 2003-04 February 3, 2004

Fernando to miss Australia one-day series

Wisden Cricinfo staff

Dilhara Fernando: another stress fracture
© Getty Images

Dilhara Fernando, Sri Lanka's liveliest pace bowler and first-choice new-ball partner for Chaminda Vaas, will miss the forthcoming one-day series against Australia following another stress fracture in his lower back. Barring a miraculous recovery, Fernando is also a serious doubt for the three-match Test series, which starts on March 8 at Galle.

Fernando, who had only just returned from another stress fracture to play a major hand in Sri Lanka's series-clinching Test win against England in December, broke down after playing two domestic matches for Western Province.

"Scans have shown that he has a stress fracture on the right-hand side of his lower back, and he will not be able to bowl for four weeks," said Paul Klarenaar, the team physio. "He'll have a CT scan next week which will reveal more, but the current prognosis is that he may be bowling again towards the end of the one-dayers."

The news is disappointing for Sri Lanka. The return of Fernando, in a country with limited fast-bowling resources, had added an extra cutting edge to the attack. The selectors, currently pondering the make-up of the one-day squad, will now have a difficult job searching for a replacement.

Prabath Nissanka, another injury-prone, but exciting prospect, is making a slow but steady recovery from knee surgery. He's targeting a return in time for the Sri Lanka A tour of New Zealand in March.

Dinusha Fernando, who opened the bowling with limited success during the first two Tests against England, is now struggling for form, leaving the door ajar for the possible return of Nuwan Zoysa.