England v Sri Lanka: Mathews major doubt for second ODI

Captain nursing hamstring injury, faces late fitness test


News Desk June 24, 2016
Injured Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews faces a race against time in order to be declared fit for the second ODI in Birmingham. PHOTO: AFP

After Liam Plunkett’s last-ball six saved England from a certain defeat against Sri Lanka in the first ODI at Nottingham, the series now moves to Birmingham where the second 50-over match will be played today.

The Islanders, defending their 286 runs, had seemed set to go 1-0 in the five-match series when they had dismissed six English batsmen for just 82 runs. But Jos Buttler and Chris Woakes’ 93 and 95-run innings, and later Plunkett’s heroics, made sure the two teams share the spoils.

The disappointment of not being able to close that match might carry forward into the second ODI, where the Sri Lankans could also be without their captain Angelo Mathews, who tweaked his hamstring in Tuesday’s opener.

England's Plunkett seals stunning Sri Lanka tie

The 29-year-old has consulted a doctor and faces a late fitness test that will determine whether he is included in today’s matchday squad. If he is ruled out then it would be a big blow to Sri Lanka as the skipper is in fantastic form.

He was his side’s top scorer in the opening match with 73 and also picked up two crucial wickets for 22 runs. His absence would be an even greater loss than usual for the 1996 World Cup winners as they appear shorthanded in the pace department.

Shaminda Eranga discharged after heart scare

Since setting foot in England, the Sri Lankans have lost Dushmantha Chameera, Dhammika Prasad and Shaminda Eranga to injuries, meaning that the team relies more than ever on Mathews.

Meanwhile, England are unlikely to make any changes to atone for their top order collapse in the first ODI.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 24th, 2016.

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