Lahiru Kumara ruled out of third ODI


Lahiru Kumara

by Rex Clementine

Fast bowler Lahiru Kumara is unlikely to feature in the third ODI against South Africa that gets underway at the Pallekele International Stadium on Sunday. Kumara, who split the webbing between his ring and little fingers on his left hand during training earlier this week didn’t feature in the second ODI as well and he is now expected to return to the side for the fourth ODI, also at Pallekele.

Kumara required four stitches for the split webbing and an official told The Island that the stitches will be removed either Sunday or Monday.

Wicketkeeper batsman Niroshan Dickwella, however, is out of danger after retiring to the dressing room during South Africa’s successful run chase in the second ODI. Dickwella was hit on the ribs while batting and he was taken to hospital and the scans had revealed that there was no fracture.

Sri Lanka need to win Sunday’s third ODI to stay alive in the series after suffering two big defeats in Dambulla earlier this week. Sunday’s fixture is a day game but Wednesday’s fourth ODI, also at Pallekele, will be a day-night affair.

Sri Lanka’s appalling fielding has come in for heavy criticism with captain Angelo Mathews not mincing any words about his team’s display on Sunday where they lost by four wickets.

"We were a bunch of school kids when it came to today’s fielding," Mathews said after the second ODI where Sri Lanka let down chances given by both openers – Quinton De Kock and Hashim Amla early in the innings. They added 91 runs for the first wicket to ease pressure on rest of the batting while De Kock went onto top score with 87 runs. Debutant Kasun Rajitha was the unlucky bowler on both occasions.

The hosts were also well below par with their ground fielding, something that has been hurting the Sri Lankans for three years now. However, there has been little effort made to remedy the problem.

Sunday’s four wicket defeat was Sri Lanka’s tenth straight loss to South Africa in ODI cricket. It was also their seventh straight loss at Dambulla.

Sri Lanka’s form in white ball cricket has been worrying since the start of last year. In 2017, Sri Lanka were whitewashed 5-0 by South Africa, India and Pakistan. The team is currently ranked eighth in ODI cricket, below Bangladesh. Sri Lanka earned automatic qualification for next year’s ICC  Cricket World Cup narrowly.

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