India vs Sri Lanka: Nuwan Pradeep’s hamstring injury adds to hosts’ woes
Sri Lanka spearhead, Nuwan Pradeep, the only pacer picked for the second Test, is out with a hamstring injury, adding to the home team’s woes against India in the series.Updated: Aug 04, 2017, 20:35 IST
Already short on bowling strength, Sri Lanka’s chances of putting up a fight in the second Test against India suffered a massive blow when their only pace bowler, Nuwan Pradeep, was ruled out for more than a month after breaking down with a left hamstring injury. (DAY 2 HIGHLIGHTS)
“Nuwan is out for one or two months,” said Sri Lanka opener Dimuth Karunaratne on Friday. He had a fair bit of bowling to do to make up for Pradeep’s absence, and took the wicket of Cheteshwar Pujara. (SCORECARD)
Having walked away clutching his hamstring after bowling 17.4 overs towards the end of the first day, Pradeep didn’t come on the second day as Sri Lanka’s plans to field one pacer backfired. Pradeep, after years of grappling with injuries, had taken a six-wicket haul in the first innings of the first Test in Galle, but shouldering the bowling attack seemed to have taken the toll on him.
Karunaratne, however, defended the selection for the second Test. “We prepared (for) this pitch to turn, that’s why we’ve played only one seamer. We would have batted had we won the toss, but unfortunately we didn’t. Now with Nuwan’s injury, there’s no opportunity to get a wicket with the new ball, or get a wicket through reverse swing when it gets older. We will have to defend with the spinners.”
With India having amassed 622/9, Sri Lanka are looking down the barrel trying to save the game. The threat of R Ashwin looms over them, with the off-spinner issuing a warning with two early wickets. Karunaratne, who was out for 25, knows the challenge his batsmen face, having fallen to Ashwin twice in two innings.
Not sure of Ashwin
“It’s not easy. He’s a good spinner. He has variations. When I was batting, I was playing for the straighter one. It’s turning a lot. You can play for the turn and the straighter one. I’m trying to play more balls from him because if I batted a long time, he will try to do something else and we can capitalise on the loose balls. That was my target while batting against Ashwin,” said Karunaratne.
In the Galle Test, Ashwin had castled the Sri Lankan opener for 97, and on Friday, induced Karunaratne to nick to Rahane at slip. “I had a plan for Ashwin. Last time I got out to him twice. Both times I got out to his straighter ball. My plan was to play for the straighter one. If it turns, you can’t help.”
The day started well for Karunaratne as he picked his maiden Test wicket by trapping Cheteshwar Pujara leg before.
“I started my career as a bowler, not a batsman, so I can bowl.”