Angelo Mathews has been ruled out of the two-match Test series against South Africa later this month but could return for the limited over leg starting March 3. The Test series starts on February 13 in Durban.
Mathews missed the limited-overs leg on the New Zealand series and the current two-match Test series in Australia after he sustained a grade two strain in his left hamstring during the second Test against New Zealand in December.
Mathews spent a week in Australia doing rehabs before returning to Sri Lanka. Since then he has been through a rehabilitation program at the High Performance Center in Colombo.
“He will certainly miss the Test series,” says Asanka Gurusinha, Chief Cricket Operating Officer at Sri Lanka Cricket. “Our plan is to make him ready for the ODIs but before that he will have to play at least few domestic matches to prove his fitness. At the moment he is training well.”
Mathews has sustained multiple calf and hamstring injuries over the last two years and has often required a few extra weeks to regain full fitness than the team had originally thought.
Meanwhile, Gurusinha questioned the match fitness of Sri Lankan seamers after four of them suffered injuries during the current series against Australia.
Nuwan Pradeep sustained a hamstring injury ahead of the opening Test in Gabba and was sent home while Duhsmantha Chameera and Lahiru Kumara were ruled out after the first test. Chameera had sustained an ankle injury while Kumara was ruled out with a hamstring injury.
Veteran seamer Suranga Lakmal was all set to play the second and final Test but was rested after complaining of a stiff back.
“Barring Suranga Lakmal, I think the issue is the lack of match fitness of these players,” said Gurusinha. “I know they have got through the fitness Test but I am not quite sure whether these guys are quite ready to bowl long spells in Test cricket. So we need to get them to bowl longer spells.
Sri Lanka’s three member seam attack of Lakmal, Kumar and Chameera sent out only 63 overs during the Gabba Test with Lakmal bowling the most overs--27.
While Suranga Lakmal expects to be ready for the Test series in South Africa, the other three have been ruled out from the series.
“So we have started the rehabs with them and in fact Pradeep has started to bowl with a short run-up. But we are not going to rush with them” he explains. In their absence Sri Lankan selectors will have to scrape the barrel to find replacement for the South African series—Sri Lanka’s last international series before the World Cup in May.