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Sri Lanka set to lose Dilshan

Investec Test Series

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Tillakaratne Dilshan

Tillakaratne Dilshan reflects on Sri Lanka's improved final-day showing at Lord's - and the likely prospect of missing the final Test

Sri Lanka captain Tillakaratne Dilshan admits he expects to miss the final npower Test of the series against England at the Rose Bowl.

He suffered a hairline fracture of his right thumb after being struck twice by Chris Tremlett during his Test-best 193 in the first innings at Lord's.

Although he would have batted if required this evening as Sri Lanka successfully negotiated the final session and a half to secure a draw, Dilshan’s injury is likely to keep him out of the third Test starting next Thursday.

“At the moment I feel I am going to miss the last Test,” he said. “The physios and doctors advise me three to four weeks, but I only have 10 days.

“I might be back. Otherwise I’ll give the youngsters a chance and I’ll be ready for the one-dayers.”

Kumar Sangakkara, who stepped down as skipper in April after the World Cup, led Sri Lanka in the field and opened the batting in Dilshan’s absence.

He will take the reins once more in Southampton should Dilshan be ruled out, while Lahiru Thirimanne, the highly-rated left-handed batsman who has yet to play a Test, is in line to feature at the top of the order.

“Thirimanne is batting really well in the nets; he’s ready for international cricket,” Dilshan added.

Dilshan revealed he was padded up this evening as Sri Lanka, charged with chasing a notional 343 for victory, slipped to 96 for three on the back of a wicket apiece for Chris Tremlett, Stuart Broad and Jonathan Trott.

However, Tharanga Paranavitana’s 44, allied to Mahela Jayawardene’s 25, had conspired to blunt England sufficiently - and persuaded Andrew Strauss to shake hands as the game entered its final hour.

While always the most likely result on a docile pitch and given the amount of time lost to rain and bad light, a draw represented a welcome improvement for Sri Lanka following their capitulation for 82 at Cardiff last week.

Dilshan insisted thoughts of a repeat were not in the players’ minds, but nevertheless took heart from their resilience, especially after responding to England’s first-innings 486 by making 479.

Tharanga Paranavitana

Tharanga Paranavitana helps Sri Lanka avoid a repeat of their Cardiff collapse by making 44. "We talked about batting normally," Dilshan said

"We just talked about batting normally - bat 50 overs and don’t think about the result," he said.

“All the players batted really well; Mahela spent some time in the middle. I’m really happy.”

Regardless of whether or not he plays next week, Dilshan is demanding more of the same spirit from his charges.

“We have one more chance to level the series,” he said. “We have to come out strongly in the Rose Bowl match; we have to win and try and draw the series.

“All the players have that mindset at the moment. We are looking forward to playing good cricket.”

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