After witnessing defeat in back to back first two matches of the one day series, Sri Lankan team management has gone though a big change and Dinesh Chandimal and Lahiru Thirimanne have been called up to the Sri Lanka squad for the upcoming three One-Day Internationals against India in place of opening batsman Danushka Gunathilaka and captain Upul Tharanga.
On the other hand it will be Chamara Kapugedera who will lead the side in Tharanga‘s absence after Tharanga has been given a two-match suspension by for the slow over rate in the second ODI in Pallekele. Earlier, Tharanga also sat out in two matches during the Champions Trophy.
Gunathilaka sustained a shoulder injury in the 33rd over of India’s innings, when he dived to his right from point and landed heavily on his elbow.
Asanka Gurusinha, Sri Lanka’s cricket manager and a selector said the selectors wanted to stick with Kapugedera, as he was already serving as Tharanga’s deputy in the series.
Talking to leading sports website Gurusinha said: “The main reason for appointing Kapu as the captain is because he was actually Upul’s deputy in the first two matches, and we wanted to stick with him, rather than bringing someone from outside”. “We wanted someone who can hold his place in the side as well. He’s also respected in the team.”
Kapugedera has played 100 ODIs and averages 21.22 in the format with eight fifties. He has not captained Sri Lanka previously. In Pallekele, he made 40 at No. 7 adding 91 runs with Milinda Siriwardana. In the last five years, however, Kapugedera averages an11.83 over six ODI innings.
Gunathilaka’s unavailability may open up an opportunity for Thirimanne, who last played an ODI for Sri Lanka in January 2016.
Neither Chandimal nor Thirimanne was part of Sri Lanka’s ODI squad against Zimbabwe last month, having lost form in the format before they were dropped.
It will be a real Test for the Sri Lankan team to bounce back in the series as they will be hoping to win atleast couple of matches to get few win to their name.