Colombo, July 21 (IANS) Ahead of the all-important Test series against India starting this Wednesday, Sri Lanka were dealt a major blow after newly-appointed Test skipper Dinesh Chandimal was ruled out of the first game in Galle after contracting pneumonia, team manager Asanka Gurusinha confirmed on Friday.
“We were actually only told late last night — the blood Test came a bit late. He’s got pneumonia. He was admitted to hospital this morning at 9 am, and he’s definitely out of the first Test,” Gurusinha said.
“The doctors have advised us this morning: ‘Finish the first Test’ and they’ll advise us afterwards. If they tell us he needs another week to recover, that’s it. We can’t do anything.
“He had started feeling unwell on Tuesday after the Zimbabwe Test, but we never suspected it would be anything like pneumonia,” he added.
Chandimal has, however, been cleared of dengue, which has been rife in Sri Lanka over the past few months.
During India’s last tour of the island nation in 2015, Chandimal’s unbeaten 162 helped Sri Lanka overturn a first-innings deficit of 193 and take a 1-0 lead in the first Test in Galle.
The wicketkeeper-batsman will be replaced at the helm by veteran left-arm spinner Rangana Herath, who captained the islanders in four Tests in the 2016-17 season.
“Most probably the captain is going to be Rangana, because for now it’s just one Test, and he has done the job before,” Gurusinha said.
“But we haven’t worked everything out. We will sit down and do that this afternoon.”
The hosts, however heaved a sigh of relief with the return of Asela Gunaratne, who had experienced tightness in the hamstring during the Zimbabwe Test, and is likely to be available for the first Test against India.
“He’s good — we got the green light from the physio this morning, but we’ll still have to put him through his paces over the next few days,” Gurusinha said. “Asela is a very resilient guy. Very tough.”
Fast bowler Nuwan Pradeep, who had also missed the Zimbabwe Test with a hamstring injury, has recovered sufficiently to be named in the squad, Gurusinha confirmed.
The full squad is expected to be announced late on Friday.