December 29, 2018
Sri Lanka’s chances of saving the Christchurch Test was dealt a major blow after Angelo Mathews pulled up lame late in the second session on day four, with apparent hamstring trouble.
Although not out, he did not take the field after tea, and will undergo scans at some point in the day before it is decided whether he can bat again in the match. At first glance, however, the injury appeared fairly serious.
Mathews was batting on 14 off 38 balls when he drove Trent Boult through mid-off and called partner Dinesh Chandimal through for two runs. Halfway through jogging the second run however, Mathews pulled up and began to hobble on his right leg, then clutched the back of his left thigh as soon as he had crossed the popping crease.
He was treated on the field and continued to bat, but was seemingly unable to put much weight on his left leg through final overs of the second session. He literally hopped a single – using his right leg exclusively – before hobbling off the field at tea.
Sri Lanka manager Jeryl Woutersz confirmed that a “hammy” was suspected, and that he would be “sent for scans” before a further prognosis was made.
Mathews has had recurring injuries in his hamstrings and calves over the past two years, and had missed entire tours because of them. He had only just returned to the bowling crease for the first time since January 2017, delivering four overs in the first Test in Wellington, as well as in the ongoing Test.
A hamstring tear now, would not only keep him out of the forthcoming limited-overs series against New Zealand, they could also put him in doubt for the Tests against Australia, which begin in late January.
Sri Lanka’s World Cup plans could be affected as well, after team management had hoped he could start bowling a few overs in one-day cricket before ramping up the workload in the months approaching next year’s global tournament, in June.
Mathews has been Sri Lanka’s best batsman in New Zealand, and had made 120 not out off 323 balls in Wellington to help save that first Test. For now, it seems unlikely that he will have the chance to repeat those heroics in Christchurch.
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo’s Sri Lanka correspondent. @afidelf
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