Birmingham: Sri Lanka were left sweating on the fitness of captain Angelo Mathews for the second one-day international against England after the all-rounder was rated “70 percent” following Thursday’s practice session.
Friday’s match at Edgbaston is a day/night clash starting at 1300 GMT, so the tourists do have a little extra time in which key all-rounder Mathews can demonstrate he has recovered fully from a hamstring strain.
The injury meant Mathews was off the field when England tailender Liam Plunkett struck the last ball of the match for six to seal a spectacular tie in Tuesday’s opening contest of a five-match series at Trent Bridge.
By that stage, Mathews had already underlined his worth to Sri Lanka by top-scoring with 73 in a total of 286 for nine, and then taking two early wickets with his medium pace as England collapsed to 30 for four and 82 for six.
If he is sidelined on Friday, off-spinner Suraj Randiv is likely to come into the team, with wicket-keeper Dinesh Chandimal taking over as captain.
Mathews took no part in the squad’s full practice session at Edgbaston, in Birmingham, central England, on Thursday but did some stretching before being able to run at an estimated 70 percent by a team spokesman, and then putting his pads on to face a tennis ball on the outfield.
Earlier, opener Danushka Gunathilaka emphasised Mathews’s importance to Sri Lanka by saying: “He’s the key man in the middle order for us, and he played a brilliant knock (at Trent Bridge).
“He’s very important for our next four matches, and we hope he will get well soon and play the next one.”
Gunathilaka, set to win his 10th ODI cap on Friday, said Mathews’s advice had been helpful in his fledgling international career.
“He gave me a lot of confidence — that’s been really helpful to me,” he said.
Gunathilaka managed only nine at Nottingham’s Trent Bridge on Tuesday before being caught behind off left-arm paceman David Willey.
“He was very good with the new ball,” said Gunathilaka of Willey, the son of former England batsman and international umpire Peter Willey.
“But it was a good wicket, and I think we were short by 10 to 20 runs. We have to be positive.”