Millennium Post

Injury-hit Lanka eye crucial win

Injury-hit Lanka eye crucial win
Sri Lanka, who have been plagued by injuries with all-rounder Jeevan Mendis, batsmen Dimuth Karunaratne and Dinesh Chandimal already bowing out of the 50-over showpiece event, are eyeing a third-placed finish ahead of Bangladesh in their group. The Angelo Mathews-led side, which has won three of its five matches, are yet to iron out the batting worries with constant injuries making it difficult to sort the final XI for the knockout stage.

Chandimal has been the latest casualty after retiring hurt post a 24-ball 52 against Australia in their last game and the islanders are banking on replacements to do the unfinished job for the 1996 champions. With a week to go before the final-eight encounters kick off, Sri Lanka may look to rest tired limbs and test their bench strength against the Preston Mommsen-led side, which is lying at the bottom of the heap with five losses from as many matches. Sri Lanka have played the non-Test side just once in ODI, winning by 183 runs in July 2011 and are looking at a similar mauling once again. Even Lankan coach Marvan Atapattu has promised full intensity even after having qualified for the knockouts.

“The idea is to play our best cricket. That is how we want to play every match and it will be no different against Scotland. When you get on the pitch, you start a new game from scratch,” said Atapattu. Even left-arm spinner Rangana Herath and opener Lahiru Thirimanne are nursing finger injuries and Atatpattu said that the opener will not take the field against Scotland as he is required to recover before the quarter-final against an undecided opponent in Sydney on March 18.

“No team likes to be burdened with injuries, so obviously it is not a good situation to be in. But hopefully the others who are there will deliver. Every fit player is in the mix to play but we have not taken a call on whom to leave out,” Atapattu said. The bowling line-up is also under fire after not being able to contain the flow of runs in the final overs against New Zealand and then against England. But Atapattu is not too worried about the bowling department. “I think it is not only us, but other sides too have faced the same problem. Even the Australians, who I think have one of the best attacks have suffered,” he said.

Teams Sri Lanka: Angelo Mathews (capt), Lahiru Thirimanne, Dushmantha Chameera, Kusal Perera, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Sachithra Senanayake, Mahela Jayawardene, Nuwan Kulasekara, Suranga Lakmal, Lasith Malinga, Thisara Perera, Seekkuge Prasanna, Kumar Sangakkara, Upul Tharanga, Rangana Herath. Scotland: Preston Mommsen (capt), Kyle Coetzer, Richie Berrington, Freddie Coleman, Matthew Cross (wk), Josh Davey, Alasdair Evans, Hamish Gardiner, Majid Haq, Michael Leask, Matt Machan, Calum MacLeod, Safyaan Sharif, Rob Taylor, Iain Wardlaw.

Sangakkara tries helmet with new safety features
Veteran Sri Lankan batsman Kumar Sangakkara became the first cricketer to wear the Masuri helmet with the new safety attachment for back of the head and neck.

British manufacturer Masuri earlier this month unveiled the StemGuard, made of honeycomb plastic and foam. It offers additional protection to the exposed back of the head and neck. Masuri has been providing StemGuards to ICC so that players can try it out. Sangakkara became the first player to wear it when he took to SCG, where he scored a brilliant century in his side’s World Cup game against Australia. Cricket Australia (CA) high performance chief Pat Howard too recently backed the use of the StemGuard.

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