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Dilshan out of Rose Bowl Test

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Kumar Sangakkara

Former captain Kumar Sangakkara has reluctantly agreed to lead Sri Lanka at the Rose Bowl in Tillakaratne Dilshan's absence

Captain Tillakaratne Dilshan was today ruled out of the third npower Test at the Rose Bowl, where Sri Lanka will instead be led – reluctantly – by former skipper Kumar Sangakkara.

Dilshan did not bat in the second innings of the second Test at Lord’s, having broken his right thumb after taking two blows on it from England fast bowler Chris Tremlett during his Test-best 193.

He sat out last week’s three-day tour match against Essex, but only today have Sri Lanka accepted that the opening batsman will not be fit in time to face England again on Thursday.

Team manager Anura Tennekoon said: “He definitely won’t be playing. The main reason we’ve kept him out of this Test match is that, had he played and got another blow while fielding on that thumb, he might have been out for the rest of the tour. As a precautionary measure, we have kept him out.”

Dilshan’s place at the top of the order is set to be taken by Lahiru Thirimanne, scorer of a century at Chelmsford yet without a Test cap to his name.

Sangakkara, who resigned the captaincy after this year’s World Cup, deputised for Dilshan during his absence at Lord’s, but was reticent to take the reins again.

He has managed just 63 runs in four Test innings on tour, although he scored 153 in the rain-affected draw with Essex.

Tennekoon added: “When he undertook this tour Kumar wasn't officially appointed as the vice-captain. But in case Dilshan had to come off the field for any emergency or maybe injury, Kumar would stand in as the captain.

“That didn't mean he was going to captain a Test match from the start. Because of Dilshan's injury and being unable to play in the third Test match, a situation arose where Kumar had to captain the side from the start of the Test - which, I think, he wasn't really mentally prepared to do.

"But after some talking to him, that it was necessary for him to stand in, Kumar gave it some deep thought and tried to help the side by accepting that responsibility.

"Once he makes up his mind, Kumar is a guy who really puts his mind to the job and does his best. Once he does that, he's going to give 100% both as a batsman and as a leader.”

Thilan Samaraweera, who led the side in the rain-affected clash with Essex, would in all likelihood have captained Sri Lanka had Sangakkara not been talked around.

"Thilan stood in at Essex,” Tennekoon said. “Kumar was first choice but didn't want to do the captaincy and preferred to concentrate on his batting and getting runs under his belt before he went into this Test match.

"The chairman of selectors is here and has spoken to his co-selectors, and then the decision was made.

"In Sri Lanka, team selections have to be subject to ministry approval - and that was given straightaway.”

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