Kapugedera doubtful for fourth ODI; Malinga likely to lead

Stand-in captain Chamara Kapugedera’s participation in the fourth ODI has been thrown into doubt after he aggravated a back injury during the previous match, on Sunday. Kapugedera had been nursing a stiff back before the third ODI, but had batted and fielded in that game. He has not trained since, and a final decision on his availability will be taken over the next 24 hours. If he is unavailable, chief selector Sanath Jayasuriya has said that Lasith Malinga will assume the captaincy.

“I was talking to the physio and he hasn’t been ruled out quite yet,” cricket manager Asanka Gurusinha said of Kapugedara. “He’s being treated. Only five or six guys are training tonight, so anyway we gave him a break. We’ll most probably look at it tomorrow (Wednesday) at training tomorrow afternoon. If he doesn’t train tomorrow then definitely he is out.”

Though Kapugedera has not had a scan on the injury yet, he has been seen by a doctor. The stiffness in his back had been mild in the approach to the third game, and had not prompted much concern. “He did have the issue in Kandy, but I think when he went into bat, it got worse,” Gurusinha said. “We’ll just have to wait further for the physio to tell us what’s going on.”

If he is ruled out of Thursday’s match, Kapugedara will become the fifth Sri Lanka batsman to become unavailable. Danushka Gunathilaka has been ruled out with a shoulder strain (though there remains a small possibility he could recover in time for the next match), and Upul Tharanga has been suspended due to a slow over rate. Dinesh Chandimal, who was brought into the squad ahead of the third ODI, has been ruled out with a fractured finger. Wicketkeeper-batsman Kusal Perera, and batting allrounder Asela Gunaratne had earlier also been ruled out of the series with injury.

Malinga has previously captained Sri Lanka’s T20 side, including in the final stages of the World T20 triumph in 2014.

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

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