Sri Lanka suffers big blow: Herath ruled out of Pallekele Test with stiff back | Page 20 | Daily News

Sri Lanka suffers big blow: Herath ruled out of Pallekele Test with stiff back

Rangana Herath mobbed by his team mates will sit out the third Test against India at Pallekele. AFP
Rangana Herath mobbed by his team mates will sit out the third Test against India at Pallekele. AFP

Sri Lanka who are 0-2 down in the three-match Test series against India suffered a massive blow ahead of the third and final Test starting at Pallekele on Saturday when their most experienced bowler and leading wicket-taker Rangana Herath was ruled out with a stiff back.

“Rangana is out of the third Test with back fitness. He bowled nearly 200 overs in three Tests and we also need to understand that he is nearly 40 years old. You can’t ask so much from a player like that it is a lot for that body,” said Sri Lanka cricket manager and national selector Asanka Gurusinha.

“We need to manage him because we’ve got two Tests against Pakistan and three against India. It’s not something that happens to a 25 or 26-year-old when you are 40 and playing like that, he’s retired from one-day cricket. It is upto us to work with Rangana if we want him to play for another 12 months or so. We’ve got to look after him,” he said.

“It happened during the SSC Test. Rangana was coming into the pavilion three or four times after a spell when he was bowling and the physio would stretch him, it wasn’t easy.”

Herath had a heavy workload in the past three weeks he bowled 49 overs at Galle and 42 at the SSC and prior to that he had sent down 71.1 overs in the one-off Test against Zimbabwe.

Herath’s injury comes on the back of injuries suffered by fast bowlers Nuwan Pradeep and Suranga Lakmal which leaves an already inexperienced bowling line up further depleted in resources.

“Pradeep is out for three weeks and Suranga has not recovered fully but we are pretty confident we have to go with that. We can’t say we are depending on Rangana all the time. That’s what we are trying as a group, not to depend on one bowler. It’s a good time for the rest to step up. I am sure we are going to do it now,” said Gurusinha.

“We haven’t seen the wicket at Pallekele and I hear that it is raining in Kandy. We’ll have to go there and look at the wicket and decide on our combination.”

Player Management

Gurusinha said that player management was something the team discussed quite seriously on Monday considering the spate of injuries that the team was going through at the moment.

“Injuries are twofold one is controllable and the other is uncontrollable. Except with the one we had with Nuwan Pradeep which was controllable when I say controllable it was his workload. We have to look at his workload and manage it well because he bowled 43 overs in the first Test. Things like that we had discussions yesterday (Monday) how we are going forward.

We don’t want to repeat that again,” said Gurusinha.After the Galle Test the workload on Pradeep increased when Sri Lanka fielded only one fast bowler for the second Test at the SSC. Pradeep was forced to leave the field after bowling 17.4 overs with a left hamstring injury.

“On hindsight we can say that now, but we had to pick the side not to suit another fast bowler’s fitness levels but look at a side that can win a Test for us. It was a risk we took and it didn’t work,” said Gurusinha.

“Asela’s (Gunaratne) hamstring was nothing to do with workload it was a sudden thing. We had more finger injuries and things like that and others but we are looking at player management very seriously. It’s not what we are doing at training. If a fast bowler has bowled 50 or 40 overs in a Test match he might not bowl a single ball at training because their bodies have to recover. Those are things the physios and trainers will plan with the head coach.

“We have already started from the second Test player management very seriously with Lahiru Kumara and Vishwa (Fernando) who were in the squad. They bowled a couple of days in the nets but the third day they didn’t bowl it was more of a recovery day for them. That’s how we are working on right not. I don’t think we will get that anymore but injuries are something that we are very worried about,” he said.

India has 4 batsmen in the top 10

In two successive Tests the Indian batting line-up has topped 600 against the Lankan bowling line up but Gurusinha pointing out the reasons for it said, “Our bowling is not weak but inexperienced that’s something we are working on and it’s not going to happen overnight.

“Out of the top 10 batsmen in the world there are four Indian batsmen. You can’t have players in the top 10 unless you are consistently performing. That just shows they have a very strong batting line up.

A lot of countries don’t have that having four players in the top 10 of your batting line up. We have to understand that and play bowlers who can take wickets, but it will come down to what type of wickets that we are going to play on.”

The Indian batsmen in the top ten at the start of the Test series were Pujara, Kohli, Rahul and Rahane.

Gurusinha said the biggest difference he saw in the team was in the second innings of the SSC Test where Sri Lanka racked up their highest total of the series so far 386.

“The biggest difference I saw was the second innings batting where the application, attitude and the commitment was much better than what they had done in the two innings at Galle and in the first innings at SSC,” said Gurusinha.

“That’s what we need it’s the application. That’s what they want and are working towards achieving that. We have to continue that we don’t have any choices, that’s professional cricket.”

Despite the two heavy losses in the first two Tests Gurusinha said the team morale was “good”.

“It is hard work for them they are disappointed as well with the result. They know they have a job to do and they are all working hard towards achieving that. The last innings showed what we can do, the important thing is continuity that’s what the players and coaching staff are working towards so that when w go to Pallekele we should continue from where we left at SSC. When you have to field for 600 runs there is so much pressure on the batsmen as well,” said Gurusinha.

“The whole story would have been different if we had won the toss but we can’t depend on it. A lot of things could have been different in both Tests if we had won the toss. That is what you come across in cricket, that’s not an excuse or complaint.”

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