COLOMBO (AFP) – Sri Lanka suffered a major blow on Saturday when a knee injury ruled sling-arm fast bowler Lasith Malinga out of the second Test against India.
His absence means the hosts will be deprived of both architects of their 10-wicket win in the first Test at Galle — Malinga and the retired Muttiah Muralitharan — for the second match.
Malinga claimed 5-50 in the second innings, while world record holder Muralitharan grabbed eight scalps to end his Test career with 800 wickets.
The duo will be replaced by unorthodox spinner Ajantha Mendis and fast bowler Dilhara Fernando for the Test starting at the Sinhalese sports club ground on Monday.
Mendis had taken 6-67 against the Indians in a practice match ahead of the first Test and is regarded as a match-winner in the Muralitharan mould.
Sri Lanka’s chairman of selectors Aravinda de Silva said Malinga had been rested on the advice of team physiotherapist Tommy Simsek after the bowler complained of stiffness in his right knee.
“We have to be cautious with Malinga,” de Silva said. “He was not feeling fit to go through a five-day Test. He has complained of stiffness in his knee.
“We are closely monitoring Malinga’s fitness and we are hopeful he will be fully fit for the third Test.”
The third Test starts at the P. Sara Oval in Colombo from August 3.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka named former captain Mahela Jayawardene as skipper Kumar Sangakkara’s deputy, a position held earlier by Muralitharan.
“We want Mahela, who has a good cricketing brain, to be part of the decision-making process in the middle,” de Silva said.
Sri Lanka’s squad for second Test:
Kumar Sangakkara (capt), Tillakaratne Dilshan, Tharanga Paranavitana, Mahela Jayawardene, Thilan Samaraweera, Angelo Mathews, Prasanna Jayawardene, Ajantha Mendis, Dilhara Fernando, Chanaka Welegedara, Suraj Randiv, Rangana Herath, Thilina Kandamby, Dammika Prasad, Lahiru Thirimanne, Nuwan Pradeep.