Bowling injuries hurt Sri Lanka ahead of England Test
Sri Lanka were already up against it to win the first Test with England and their chances may have slimmed further by the news that two of their leading bowlers are struggling with injury.
Young speed sensation Nuwan Pradeep took 4-29 against the England Lions and was virtually certain to be handed his Test debut at Cardiff.
However, he seems likely to miss the whole of the Test series after being sent home with a cruciate ligament injury, sustained when treading on a cricket ball.
Meanwhile, Dilhara Fernando, who took six victims against the England Lions, is also doubtful for the opening Test of the three-game series after complaining of pain in his knee.
Sri Lanka’s odds are 4/1 to win the first Test and their chances of taking 20 wickets will now rest on the shoulders of their spinners and on new addition to the squad Farveez Maharoof.
Although not in their original 16-man party, Maharoof could prove a potent weapon after taking to English conditions well after beginning the season as Lancashire’s overseas player.
In three matches for Lancashire, Maharoof has taken eight wickets at an average of 30 and will be keen to show his worth having not featured in the Test arena for Sri Lanka since 2007.
Maharoof may also be able to frustrate England with the bat as he averages 65 for Lancashire this season.
Despite there being reasons why the call up of Maharoof is positive, the loss of Pradeep and potentially Fernando can only really benefit England, particularly as Sri Lanka are already without the retired Lasith Malinga.
England are 10/11 in the cricket odds to win the first Test, while it is 13/8 that the Cardiff game ends in a draw, which could happen if both strong batting line-ups fire.
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