Sri Lanka can still compete: Karunaratne

Sri Lanka will be without several key players for the second Test against South Africa but captain Dimuth Karunaratne insists his side could still prove competitive.

Muscle strains hit the team heavily in their first Test loss in Pretoria with Dinesh Chandimal, Dhananjaya de Silva, Kasun Rajitha and Lahiru Kumara all suffering serious injury that rules them out of the match that begins on Sunday at The Wanderers.

Suranga Lakmal, Sri Lanka’s most experienced fast bowler, will have to pass a late fitness test if he is to avoid also being sidelined.

“We don’t have our best XI but we have some very good youngsters who have done well in domestic competition and can make the step up,” Karunaratne told a news conference on Saturday.

“I feel the youngsters will do their best. I believe we can do it and we have a good chance to win.”

Sri Lanka took 21 players on tour, and several new caps are expected to be named on Sunday.

The visitors lost by an innings and 45 runs despite a first innings total of 396 and Karunaratne felt they would have stood a good chance of winning the opening match were it not for the devastating injury toll.

“I’ve never faced a situation like this and maybe no one has, where in one match you lose three bowlers,” he added.

“When we started we had a balanced attack, with bowlers I could use for various roles. But in the first innings we lost that. We had been in a position where we could have even dominated the game.”

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