Sri Lanka's coach, Mickey Arthur
, is set to raise the issue of injury substitutions with the ICC after seeing the number of his players requiring treatment rise to five on day three of the first Test against South Africa in Centurion.
Sri Lanka had already lost the services of Dhananjaya de Silva and Kasun Rajitha, and were left further depleted when Lahiru Kumara
and Wanindu Hasaranga
were forced off the field during the afternoon session. Although Hasaranga later returned, claiming a four-wicket haul, Sri Lanka ended the day with Dinesh Chandimal being attended to by the physio after experiencing discomfort as he left the field at stumps.
Arthur, who could be seen with furrowed brow on the Sri Lanka balcony, had already confirmed to ESPNcricinfo that he would be bringing up the topic of replacements for discussion by the ICC's cricket committee, of which he is a member.
"In terms of Covid substitutions, I sit on the ICC cricket committee and I will be having a chat at the end of this Test match," he said after the close of play. "India lost one of their quicks today [in Melbourne]. I suspect that more teams are going to lose their quicks as it goes on. The rigours of the workload is just going to be too much with coronavirus around."
The injury blows, which for a period left Sri Lanka with just two fit bowlers from their initial six-man attack, took place after lunch. Kumara walked off the field a ball into his 22nd over with a hand on his groin, although he took relatively easy strides to the dressing-room staircase. Sri Lanka's captain, Dimuth Karunaratne, finished his over.
Six overs later, Hasaranga, who had just taken his second wicket of the match, slid to field on the cover boundary and appeared to land on the ball. He got up and attempted to walk off the pain but found he could not stand for too long and soon sat down for relief. He was helped into the emergency buggy and driven out of the ground. Kusal Mendis had to take over bowling from Hasaranga's end.
That left Sri Lanka with only Vishwa Fernando and Dasun Shanaka, who has only taken up as much bowling as he has in this match because of the absence of Rajitha and de Silva, and part-timers to bowl at South Africa. Rajitha bowled 13 deliveries with the new ball on day two before leaving the field with a groin injury and is not expected to take any further part in the match; neither is de Silva, who has been ruled out of the series entirely with a quadricep tear sustained on the first day while batting.
There was some respite for Sri Lanka as Hasaranga was deemed fit enough to return and bowl again before tea, by which point South Africa's lead was above the 150-mark.
Things could have got even worse when, in between times, Niroshan Dickwella required treatment on field for what appeared to be a bee sting. Dickwella touched the back of his neck in discomfort, was attended to by the team physiotherapist and was able to resume wicketkeeping duties.