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Sri Lankan injuries have knock-on effect
John Salvado
19:26 AEST Thu Dec 27 2012

Sri Lanka have no one but themselves to blame for their ill-discipline with the bat and some sloppy work in the field during the first two days of the second Test against Australia.

But they have every right to curse the injury gods who have also played a significant part in putting them in a seemingly hopeless position after day two at the MCG.

Losing Chanaka Welegedera to a hamstring injury early on Thursday increased the workload significantly on fellow paceman Dhammika Prasad and Shaminda Eranga - who combined for five wickets in their 50 overs.

Tireless spinner Rangana Herath also deserved much better figures than 0-95 from 39 overs in Australia's imposing score of 8-440.

The bigger blow may turn out to be the broken thumb suffered by wicketkeeper Prasanna Jayawardene while batting on day one.

Sri Lankan batting coach Marvan Atapattu was hopeful that Jayawardene would be able to bat in his usual position at No.7 on Friday.

But a more pressing issue could be how the visitors' best batsman Kumar Sangakkara backs up after filling in for Jayawardene behind the stumps throughout Australia's long first innings.

Sangakkara kept wickets for 48 Tests early in his career before concentrating solely on batting, a decision that saw his average improve from 40 to more than 55.

Sri Lanka are likely to start their second dig more than 300 runs in arrears and Atapattu expects his batsman to show much more discipline than in the first innings when they were humbled for 156.

"We've got the capability, we've got the batsmen who are capable enough to make big scores and get us some good partnerships going," said Atapattu.

"Hopefully they will put it right in the next innings they bat."

Much of that responsibility will fall to captain and alltime Sri Lankan runs record holder Mahela Jayawardene, who has now gone 25 innings outside his home country without passing 50.

"From a positive side of it, the two catches that the captain held later in the day (to dismiss Michael Clarke and Peter Siddle) will hopefully give him some confidence when he comes out to bat," said Atapattu.

"... It's easy to say that someone who has scored more than 10,000 runs in Test match cricket has got a problem now.

"We are aware of that ... but he doesn't bat any differently from the time he started his career.

"He's just chasing some deliveries more than he should normally do early in his innings."


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