South Africa v Sri Lanka, 1st Test – Dimuth Karunaratne


“Never faced a situation like this,” says Sri Lanka captain after losing three members of six-man attack

Sri Lanka were in such a good situation in the early stages of the first Test they could even have dominated had multiple injuries not hit. This, at least, was the view of Sri Lanka captain Dimuth Karunaratne, whose dressing room was decimated by injury through the course of the four days at Centurion.

Sri Lanka made 396 in the first innings – their highest ever score in South Africa – but lost Dhananjaya de Silva to a thigh strain during what was arguably their most fluent innings of the Test. In subsequent days Kasun Rajitha and Lahiru Kumara withdrew from the attack due to injuries, meaning Karunaratne had only three good bowling options remaining.

Despite the good first-innings total, they went on to lose by an innings and 45 runs, after South Africa racked up a total of 621 against a substantially depleted attack.

“I’ve never faced a situation like this and maybe no one has, where in one match you lose three bowlers,” Karunaratne said. “When we started we had a balanced attack, with bowlers I could use for various roles. But in the first innings we lost that. We had been in a position where we could have even dominated the game. We had been in worse situations than this on our last tour to South Africa when we won those games. Losing this [game] by an innings is a huge disappointment.

“We had scored the most we’d ever scored [in South Africa] in the first innings. We knew after making that total that it’s going to get harder to bat on later in the game as well. If our bowlers had stayed fit we would have been able to do something. Our batsmen did a good job in this match.”

Karunaratne was unwilling to be too severe on the second-innings batting effort either. Sri Lanka conceded a first-innings lead of 225, but aside from the absence of de Silva, they also had to contend with a niggle that Dinesh Chandimal picked up, as well as Rajitha and Kumara’s inability to do anything but hobble between the wickets. Wanindu Hasaranga was also struggling to run after injuring his thigh diving on the ball on day three.

Related Articles

Back to top button