Skipper Chandimal set to return

Battered into submission within four days in the first Test, Sri Lanka had some good news with their skipper Dinesh Chandimal set to return for the second Test starting on Thursday. Chandimal missed the Galle Test, which Lanka lost by 304 runs, through pneumonia but has recovered fully and has been batting in the nets for the last couple of days. He also moved into the team hotel on Sunday further strengthening his chances of starting the second Test. There is, however, no update on the fitness of Rangana Herath, who did the duty of stand-in skipper in Galle. The left-arm spinner hurt his left middle finger while fielding on the third day of the Test and had to leave the field with a bruise.
He didn’t return to bowl nor did he bat in Sri Lanka’s second innings that folded for 245. While Lanka will fret over a potential absence of their most active successful bowler Herath for the second match, they will be relieved to have Chandimal back in the squad. The right-handed batsman will probably replace Danushka Gunathilaka, who made his debut in Galle and had scores of 16 and 2. The hosts will also have to find a replacement for Asela Gunaratne, who broke his left thumb on the first day and has been ruled out of the rest of the tour. While Dhananjaya de Silva, who was in the reserves for the first Test, is expected to walk into the playing XI, the inclusion of the more experienced Lahiru Thirimanne, not originally in the squad for the Galle match but made a half-century for Sri Lanka Board President’s XI against the Indians here, can’t be ruled out. Also, paceman Suranga Lakmal is unlikely to be available for the second Test with a hamstring niggle. Lakshan Sandakan is likely to replace him.

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