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Joe Root: England captain says he has tough job to pick second-Test XI

Sri Lankas team management will give Chandimal every opportunity to heal before the second Test, which starts on Wednesday, but have said they would not risk putting Chandimal into the XI if he is not 100%. Kusal Perera and Lahiru Thirimanne were the standby batsmen when the Test squad was named in late September, and may now enter into the squad proper as injury cover.

“Chandimals injury is grade one tear, and it will take ten to 14 days to recover, so it will be touch and go for the second Test match,” Chandika Hathurusingha, Sri Lankas coach, said. “Well wait and see how his body recovers before we make the call. If he is not 100% fit, he may not play. We have to look at a replacement or stand by player for him.”

When his career is done and he reflects on the destinations cricket has taken him, Joe Root will look back fondly at Galle, this small fishing port on the south coast of Sri Lanka. Short of runs he might have been, dismissed twice by Sri Lankas departed champion, Rangana Herath, but winning inside four days by an emphatic margin, at a ground Sri Lanka regard as a fortress, and where England have never won before, adds up to the finest victory of his captaincy so far, his first away from home. It is hard not to see England winning the series now.

If he misses the match, it would be the fourth Test out of Sri Lankas five most recent matches that he would have been unavailable for. He was suspended for the third Test of the West Indies series in June, and the two home Tests against South Africa in July, due to a ball-tampering offence and the spirit of cricket breach that followed it.

Losing the first match of a short three-match series is usually fatal and rarely can Sri Lanka have been outplayed so comprehensively at…

He had also missed the second Test Sri Lanka played after he became captain in August last year, due to pneumonia on that occasion.

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Captain Joe Root praised his “fantastic” squad and said that the selectors have a tough job to pick a team for the second Test after England thrashed Sri Lanka in Galle.

Opener Keaton Jennings and wicketkeeper Ben Foakes scored hundreds in the 211-run win, while Jonny Bairstow is expected to be fit to play next week.

Rangana Herath’s last act came on Day 3 of the first Test against Sri Lanka in Galle when he bowled his final delivery in Test cricket to Keaton Jennings. In his last Test, Herath could pick up only one wicket but that doesn’t erase the phenomenal numbers he racked up in his illustrious career. As age finally catches up with Islander, Herath ends his career with more wickets than any other slow left-arm spinner in Test cricket, eighth on the all-time list. His figures in his final innings read: 2-59 in 23 overs.

Bairstow had played every Test since replacing Gary Ballance midway through the 2015 Ashes before missing out in Galle because of an ankle injury picked up playing football.

But he now faces a battle to get back into the side for the second Test, which starts on Wednesday, 14 November, after Foakes man-of-the-match display.

Following the conclusion of the first Test, Herath will return to his day job at Sampath Bank where he has worked for 18 years. The responsibility he took for so many years now has to be taken over by the next generation but there will never be one like him for a long time. Truly he was one of the best ambassador’s of the game. Niyama Gaana Rangayya!

If Bairstow does play as a batsman, England could have three wicketkeepers in their top seven, Jos Buttler being the third.

In his farwell match, Rangana Herathclaimed his 100th scalp. Only two other bowlers have achieved 100 wickets at the same ground — Muttiah Muralitharan ( Galle, Kandy and SSC Colombo) and England paceman James Anderson (Lords).

“Hes come into the side and performed extremely well, not just with the bat. His keeping performance throughout was fantastic.

“Its so refreshing to see someone come into the side and soak up the opportunity they have to play for England and with a smile on their face.

“All options are open but Ben has done everything he can to retain his place. Jonny is a world-class player and we have a number of things to think about.”

Stuart Broad is another man hoping to return to the side after he was left out for the first time when fit for a decade in Galle.

Former England captain Michael Vaughan on The Cricket Social: “England have not won a Test overseas for so long, so they should keep it simple. Dont change a winning side after a performance like that.

“Go with same again, win the series in Kandy and get Jonny Bairstow back into the side in the third Test in Colombo.


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