Left-arm seamer Vishwa Fernando conceded that it was a major blow for Sri Lanka to lose the team’s specialist spinner Lasith Embuldeniya to injury with the team is trying to record a first ever Test series win in South Africa.
Embuldeniya hurt his left thumb attempting to take a return catch off Kagiso Rabada. The bowler was rushed to the hospital and scans revealed a dislocated thumb. He was to undergo surgery in Port Elizabeth and will fly back home without taking further part in the tour. Medical specialists have claimed that Embuldeniya will be out of action for at least six weeks.
The injury leaves Sri Lanka with just ten players to compete the rest of the game. While Embuldeniya’s bowling will be missed during South Africa’s second innings, the tourists will not be able to count on his stubborn batting as well that came in handy in the Durban Test which Sri Lanka went onto win by one wicket.
“He is our main spinner and it is a massive blow for us. We have to get other guys to do the job in his absence in a bid to win the series,” Vishwa Fernando, who picked up three wickets told journalists.
Fernando troubled Hasim Amla like in the first Test dismissing him for a golden duck. The ball before that he had accounted for Dean Elgar and was on a hat-trick.
“Very pleased to get Hasim Amla’s wicket first ball. He is a world class batsman and I was thrilled with that wicket. These wickets help fast bowlers and with the new ball I had confidence that I could take two or three wickets. Just kept to my basics bowling line and length and it worked off today,” Fernando added.
“I knew I had an lbw appeal turned down against Hasim in Durban. Tried to do something similar. I was looking for leg before wicket or bowled and that worked off.”
Fernando also set up Dean Elgar nicely. “I bowled out swingers and was going too wide. So I tried to use the crease and then get one in. He was looking for the out swinger but it cut back in.”
Fernando wasn’t among Sri Lanka’s plans initially but injury to Nuwan Pradeep saw him being called up to Australia and more injuries resulted in him being retained for South Africa. “I was playing club cricket and had a decent season. I got a chance to go to Australia as there were injuries. I had nothing to lose. I wanted to do my best and I am pretty pleased with the effort that I have put in so far. “