Sri Lanka’s opening batsman Dimuth Karunaratne is out of danger after being struck down by a nasty Pat Cummins bouncer on day two of the second Test at Manuka Oval on Saturday. The opening batsman was on song, playing some exquisite strokes and was just one hit away from his half-century when he was hurt.
The delivery that struck him was clocked at 142.5 kmph and the batsman ducked but the ball didn’t rise as much as he expected. He was in serious pain and the physiotherapists of both Sri Lanka and Australia attended on him before it was decided to transfer him to a hospital in an ambulance.
“At the moment he is in hospital. He is being assessed and he is in good spirit. No danger as of now. He was talking to us before he was leaving as well. Bit scary initially at the way he fell back. But he was okay and he was talking to the umpires and physios,” Hathurusingha told journalists.
The Head Coach was not sure as to when he will come out to bat. “Until he is released from the hospital we cannot say anything. ICC has a protocol and we have to follow that,” added Hathurusingha.
“Dimuth complained of pain in neck and tingling to his hands following being struck in the back of the neck. A decision then was made to transport him to hospital where he is currently being assessed,” a statement by Cricket Australia said.
Australian batsman Kurtis Patterson, who made a hundred in his second Test match after being dropped on zero expressed his concerns.
“It’s never nice and you never like seeing that. While you want your fast bowlers to be aggressive and try to set them up to get the nick, you never like it when players go down like that,” Patterson said.
“I am hoping he can come out and bat again tomorrow. All of us were in a little bit of shock but I think everyone is okay, which is good, so hoping he’s okay to bat again tomorrow,” he added.
The tourists were cruising at 82 for no loss with the papare band going at full blast as the Sri Lankan expatriates enjoyed the best day for the team on tour. But soon after Karunaratne’s injury, there was an opening for Australia as they claimed three quick wickets.
“I am not too sure whether the injury had an impact on our innings. It was a bit of distraction no doubt as we lost couple of quick wickets. We were going well before this happened.”
Hathurusingha was disappointed with the team’s fielding. All three centurions – Joe Burns, Travis Head and Patterson were dropped and they went onto punish the Sri Lankans. Burns was on 37 when Dhananjaya de Silva put him down while Head was on 87 when Dilruwan Perera failed to hold onto a chance. Patterson had not opened his account when a chance off him went begging with Lahiru Thirimanne being the culprit.
“On a track like this when you have a young bowling attack it hurts. It is very tough to create opportunities on this type of wickets and quality batsmen don’t give you many opportunities. So it was really hurting us dropping those catches.”
Sri Lanka are relying on a raw attack after four fast bowlers were injured on tour in two weeks. “Unfortunately we had few injuries to our fast bowlers. In the space of two weeks we have lost all our leading fast bowlers. Injuries can happen. You cannot plan for those. We managed them as much as we can. A few injuries were accidental. We are trying to manage as best as we can,” he explained.
Kusal Mendis, who had a spectacular year in 2018 scoring over 1000 runs only behind Virat Kohli has failed to get going on this tour but Hathurusingha backed the youngster. “I think he was dismissed by a very good ball in the last game and a bit similar here as well. He is a class act. He is coming here for the first time. He will learn. Class is always there.”
“He is 23 and after Angelo was hurt everyone was trying to rely on him as he was the leading run scorer for us last year. Huge responsibility for him. Playing in this part of the world it is a challenge.”
Hathurusingha during his New South Wales days has worked with quite a few current Australian players including Kurtis Patterson and he praised the youngster. “He has been playing well. Third hundred against us in two weeks. He looked very composed. Found a way to score runs. I saw him as a Test potential when I was with Blues. He is a very intelligent player as well. Very pleased for him.”