Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando
IND v ENG (1)
PSL 2024 (1)
Ranji Trophy (4)
WI 4-Day (4)
The ICC Event Technical Committee has approved legspinning-allrounder Seekkuge Prasanna as a replacement for injured batsman Dimuth Karunaratne. Prasanna was already in Australia as cover for Rangana Herath, who is himself carrying a finger injury. Prasanna now stands a chance of playing against Australia on Sunday, less than 48 hours after he was admitted to the squad.
Karunaratne's World Cup ended when he sustained a jarring blow on his right hand during fielding practice on Thursday, which displaced and fractured bones in that hand. On Friday, Karunaratne underwent surgery, which included the insertion of a metal plate into that hand. His expected recovery time is three to five weeks.
Prasanna had played in Sri Lanka's World T20 campaign last year, and was on the cusp of being selected for the original World Cup squad, but was pipped by Jeevan Mendis, who was seen to offer more with the bat. The drafting in of a bowling allrounder in place of a batsman reflects the nature of Sri Lanka's campaign, which has seen impressive batting performances, but mediocre returns from the attack. Sri Lanka have used Prasanna as a pinch-hitter in the past, and his inclusion suggests they view him as a player who can bolster the bowling, without compromising substantially on the batting front.
Prasanna is the third official replacement to the original Sri Lanka squad. Dushmantha Chameera was named in place of Dhammika Prasad during the tournament, and Upul Tharanga replaced the injured Jeevan Mendis last week. Sri Lanka will also fly opener Kusal Perera in to Australia, as cover for their batting stock, which has now thinned to seven men.
Herath's chances of playing the next match remain slim, however. The cut to Herath's spinning finger appears to be healing well, but the stitches he received there will not be removed until early next week.