Chanaka Welegedara will not bowl again in the Boxing Day Test and is unlikely to recover in time for the third Test, after initial scans revealed a tear in his right hamstring. Wicketkeeper Prasanna Jayawardene is unable to keep wickets for the remainder of the Test, having fractured his right thumb while batting the previous day, but the Sri Lanka management are hopeful he will bat in the second innings. Kumar Sangakkara has taken the gloves in his stead.
In addition, scans on Thursday revealed Nuwan Kulasekara was suffering from a hairline fracture to a rib, which was originally thought to be nothing more than bruising. He suffered the injury when he took a blow to the ribs on the final day in Hobart, and was left out of the second Test when he was unable to bowl comfortably in the nets, in the lead-up to the match. Sri Lanka are hopeful that both Kulasekara and Jayawardene will be available for the Sydney Test which begins on January 3rd, but their condition will be reassessed closer to the start of that Test.
Having opened the bowling for Sri Lanka on the second morning, Welegedara was halfway through his fourth over, when he pulled up during his approach to the crease. He bent down to stretch his right hamstring, and appeared to be in discomfort as he left the field. Shaminda Eranga completed his over. Welegedara will undergo another scan on Friday to confirm the extent of the damage, but the situation does not look promising, batting coach Marvan Atapattu said after play on day two.
Welegedara has had an injury-plagued year, having missed eight months of Test cricket with two separate injuries. He strained his groin in March during the home series against England and though he had recovered from that by June, he tore a shoulder muscle as Sri Lanka prepared to play Pakistan later in the month. The Hobart Test against Australia was his first taste of competitive cricket since March, as his recovery period did not coincide with Sri Lanka's domestic season.
He is regarded as the leader of Sri Lanka's pace attack, and his presence was missed on day two, when Australia amassed a lead nearing 300, with two wickets still intact. Welegedara had been the leading wicket-taker for Sri Lanka in the first Test in Hobart.
The loss of Jayawardene may have also hurt Sri Lanka, with two clear-cut chances having been missed by Sangakkara behind the stumps. Shane Watson was spilled late on day one as Sangakkara dived to his right, and a difficult stumping chance off Michael Clarke also went begging in the first session on day two. Clarke and Watson made 106 and 83 respectively, and were involved in a 196-run partnership that took Australia to a commanding position from 117 for 3.