Gunaratne out of India series, to undergo surgery on thumb

Asela Gunaratne will play no further part in the India Test series, and is almost certain to miss the ODIs that follow, after he sustained a serious fracture in his left thumb while fielding. He will undergo surgery in Colombo on Wednesday, having been rushed up from Galle, where an x-ray confirmed a substantial injury.

“It is a sad one – he will miss a minimum of four weeks, but I think it will be more,” SLC cricket manager Asanka Gurusinha said after stumps on the first day. “We will know in the next 48 hours what the exact time frame is. Just below his thumb there are about three pieces of bone. It is pretty serious. As soon as we saw the x-ray, we realised it was serious, so we sent him to Colombo. We got a call around 3:30 or 4pm today to say that the surgeons have seen him and they are operating on him tonight.”

He had picked up the injury in the 14th over of the first morning. Fielding at second slip to the bowling of Lahiru Kumara, Gunaratne dived to his left to intercept an edge off Shikhar Dhawan’s bat, only for the ball to hit him on the end of the thumb. The catch was dropped, and Gunaratne immediately clutched his hand in pain. Soon after, he left the ground clutching his wrist.

The loss of Gunaratne is a substantial blow to Sri Lanka. Not only does his slow bowling bring balance to the side, he is also in good batting form, having hit a crucial 80 not out in a record fourth-innings chase against Zimbabwe last week.

“We lost Asela as both batsman and bowler,” Gurusinha said. “He is a fighter, and he has been scoring a lot of runs. Losing him is going to put lot of pressure on us.”

Dhawan, who was reprieved on 31 went on to hit 190 off 168 balls, setting India on track to 399 for 3 by stumps.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo’s Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando

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