Injuries cause concern for Sri Lanka
Now that Sri Lanka has secured a spot in the World Cup quarterfinals, coach Marvan Atapattu’s focus ahead of its Pool A match against Scotland will be on how to combat the high attrition rate for his squad at the tournament. Dinesh Chandimal was ruled out of the World Cup after injuring his leg and having to retire hurt as Sri Lanka unsuccessfully tried to chase down Australia’s total of 376-9 at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
Dhammika Prasad, all-rounder Jeevan Mendis and batsman Dimuth Karunaratne had already been replaced in the squad due to injuries, and spinner Rangana Herath missed the match against Australia due to a hand injury. “It’s a big blow to lose anybody from our original squad, We’ve come to the stage where, due to unavoidable circumstances, injuries, we have five replacements.” Atapattu said on the eve of the match against winless Scotland at Hobart’s Bellerive Oval. Kusal Perera was drafted in the extended squad after Chandimal was ruled out. Atapattu said Upul Tharanga would likely remain in the starting lineup as batting cover, and there was no chance his squad would take second-tier Scotland lightly, particularly after Ireland’s wins over test-ranked West Indies and Zimbabwe and Bangladesh’s win over England that eliminated the English from contention. That result confirmed all four quarterfinalists in Pool A, with four-time champion Australia, 1996 champion Sri Lanka and Bangladesh all jockeying for positions behind unbeaten New Zealand. Scotland has never won a match at the World Cup, narrowly missing out against newcomer Afghanistan last month.
Scotland is the only team in the competition that England has managed to beat so far. “Obviously, if you have a chance to win the game in a convincing way, you take that option, But our priority here is to win a game ofcricket so we can get some confidence out of the game tomorrow.” Atapattu said. Despite the injuries, Sri Lanka hasn’t lacked top-order batting, with Kumar Sangakkara becoming the first man to score three consecutive centuries at the same World Cup against Australia, England and Bangladesh.
Openers Lahiru Thirimanne and Tillakaratne Dilshan have also contributed, and former captain Mahela Jayawardene is at No. 4. Paceman Lasith Malinga is also coming back into form after a prolonged injury break, bowling some stunning full-pitch balls against Australia. “He’s been brilliant in the last game especially. There are big game players and he’s one of those, He stands up and he has a big game, pressure situations he comes up trumps. He is a great asset to the team and the bowling.” Atapattu said. Scotland’s bowlers have taken some punishment during the World Cup, meaning there’s more pressure on the likes of batsman Kyle Coetzer, who scored 71 against England and 156 against Bangladesh, to put up runs. Scotland’s next opponent after Sri Lanka is Australia on the weekend. “We see two very big opportunities ahead of us starting tomorrow, We don’t get the opportunity to play against full members very often, so to have two in the space of a few days is something very exciting for all of us. We’ve not yet put in a full package display,” he said. “That’s something very exciting for us, because we know if we do hit the straps 100 percent, that we are capable of turning over big teams.” skipper Preston Mommsen said.