Sri Lanka’s entry into a new phase of international cricket under the country’s youngest ever captain Angelo Mathews received a devastating blow when Mathews’ imposing predecessor Mahela Jayawardene injured his finger and will be ruled out of the homes series against Bangladesh starting in the first week of March.
Jayawardene dislocated the middle finger of his left hand while attempting a catch on Sunday in a domestic first class game for SSC against NCC at his home ground.
He had put the finger back in place immediately, but scans had later shown a fracture.
Jayawardene had reportedly been examined and treated by a specialist last morning and is likely to undergo a surgery today.
His scan reports have already been dispatched to Australia for further investigations but experts said yesterday that the forecast is gloomy for the veteran batsman to play the Bangladesh series.
Usually a fracture like the one Jayawardene sustained needs 2-4 weeks to heal, but due to the severity of Jayawardene’s injury the doctors have estimated it to require 4-6 weeks to heal completely, putting him effectively out of the first international series since he relinquished his captaincy.
Jayawardene who made his debut in 1997 has played 138 Tests, more than any other Sri Lankan and has scored 10,806 runs, also the highest for a Sri Lankan, at an average of 49.56. He is currently at number eight in the list of all-time highest Test run scorers with only Sachin Tendulkar and Jacques Kallis above him in that list among current players.
Jayawardene who first took over as Sri Lanka captain in 2006 took back the reins for a second time last year following captaincy stints by Kumar Sangakkara and Tillekaratne Dilshan.
Jayawardene’s wealth of experience which is unmatched will be sorely missed by the young Sri Lanka captain and his problems will be compounded if the other Sri Lanka stalwart Kumar Sangakkara, who injured his hand and missed the latter part of the recent Australia series, will also be forced out of the series.
Former skipper Sangakkara who has played 115 Tests and has scored 10,045 runs at 55.80 to be in the 11th place of the all-time Test run scorers, has been picked by the national selectors for the Bangladesh series pending his fitness and has not played first class cricket since injuring his hand.
He did not play in the match against SSC where Jayawardene got injured, but sources said he is likely to be fit for the series.
The first Test against Bangladesh starts in Galle on March 8 while the last match of the series which is the only T20 International will be played on March 31 at Pallekele.
Wicket keeper batsman Prasanna Jayawardene who has played 52 Tests is likely to get the nod back from selectors in Mahela Jayawardene’s place as the Sri Lanka squad might require experience to strike balance in the line-up which is full of young players.
Thilan Samaraweera, a veteran of 81 Tests who scored a century for SSC against NCC on Friday, or SSC opener Tharanga Paranavithana, who scored twin fifties in the same match, are also in contention for the place.
Sri Lanka national selectors headed by former star player Sanath Jayasuriya will meet this morning to pick the replacement.
Courtesy: DM Online