JOHANNESBURG: Sri Lanka will be without several key players for the second Test against South Africa but captain Dimuth Karunaratne insists his side could still prove competitive when the match gets underway on Sunday.
Muscle strains hit the team heavily in their first Test loss in Pretoria with Dinesh Chandimal, Dhananjaya de Silva, Kasun Rajitha and Lahiru Kumara all suffering serious injury that ruled them out of the second Test at The Wanderers Stadium.
Suranga Lakmal, who is Sri Lanka’s most experienced fast bowler, will have to pass a late fitness test if he is to avoid also being sidelined.
“We don’t have our best XI but we have some very good youngsters who have done well in domestic competition and can make the step up,” Karunaratne told a news conference on Saturday.
“I feel the youngsters will do their best. I believe we can do it and we have a good chance to win.”
Sri Lanka took 21 players on tour, and several new caps are expected to be named on Sunday.
The visitors lost by an innings and 45 runs despite a first innings total of 396 runs and Karunaratne felt they would have stood a good chance of winning the opening Test were it not for the devastating injury toll.
“I’ve never faced a situation like this and maybe no one has, where in one match you lose three bowlers,” he added.
“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.”