Hand injury puts Sangakkara out of Australia tour

Saturday, 29 December 2012 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Sri Lanka will be without batsman Kumar Sangakkara for the remainder of their tour of Australia, after scans revealed a fracture to his left hand, where he was hit by a Mitchell Johnson bouncer during the Boxing Day Test.

Sangakkara will undergo surgery this evening and will be unavailable for six to eight weeks, as he recovers. Fast bowler Chanaka Welegedara has also been ruled out of the Sydney Test with a hamstring injury, and will likely fly home, having not been named in the limited overs squads.

Sri Lanka is also waiting on the fitness of wicketkeeper Prasanna Jayawardene and fast bowler Nuwan Kulasekara, who are both suffering from hairline fractures. Jayawardene sustained his injury during Sri Lanka’s first innings, when Johnson hit him on the right thumb.

Kulasekara meanwhile had been complaining of soreness in the ribs after being hit there while batting on the fifth day in Hobart, before scans on Thursday revealed he had a cracked rib.

Sangakkara was hit on the bottom hand while fending a short ball after lunch, and immediately called for the physiotherapist upon crossing for a single. The removal of his glove revealed significant swelling on the bottom of his index finger, and he left the field for the hospital soon after.

The three injuries in the game meant that Sri Lanka only had eight batsmen who could complete their innings in the second dig. Their innings ended at 103 on day three, when they slipped to an innings and 201-run defeat. Sangakkara is the side’s leading batsman, while Welegedara is considered the leader of Sri Lanka’s pace attack and had been their top wicket-taker in the first Test.

Dinesh Chandimal is the only reserve batsman on tour, and is almost certain to be included in the XI for the Sydney Test that begins on 3 January. He has also kept wickets for Sri Lanka in Tests, and will take the gloves if Jayawardene is unfit to play. Lahiru Thirimanne is on stand-by for the tour, and may also be flown in as cover.

Among the fast bowling reserves, Nuwan Pradeep may earn a start in Sydney, if three seam bowlers are required and Kulasekara cannot play, while Thisara Perera may also be brought into the squad. Perera is already in Australia, playing for the Brisbane Heat in the Big Bash League.