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Champaka Ramanayake backs Suranga Lakmal to fill in for Dushmantha Chameera

Champaka Ramanayake backs Suranga Lakmal to fill in for Dushmantha Chameera
Suranga Lakmal in nets ahead of the second Test.
©REUTERS / Action Images

Sri Lanka bowling coach Champaka Ramanayake is backing pace bowler Suranga Lakmal to take up the responsibility in place of the injured Dushmantha Chameera for the remainder of the ongoing Test series against England.

Sri Lanka’s bowling attack has been depleted with the loss of Dhammika Prasad and Dushmantha Chameera due to injuries.

Prasad suffered a shoulder injury which has kept him out of action while Chameera has suffered a stress fracture which is expected to keep him on the sidelines for at least four months.

Though Ramanayake feels that the loss of Chameera and Prasad is a significant blow, he is confident that Lakmal will be able to deliver results.

"Chameera’s the fastest bowler of the group, so of course it’s a blow," Ramanayake said.

"But here, because the wickets are helping the seamers even the others will be good.

"Chameera has been our impact bowler, but sometimes you do get stress reactions once in a way. You can’t help it. But the other bowlers can deliver.

"Suranga is bowling really well in the nets and is an experienced guy, so he will fill up that role."

Sri Lanka’s current pace attack for the second Test is likely to feature Lakmal, Nuwan Pradeep and Shaminda Eranga and the trio are not short on experience as they have played a total of 61 matches between them.

Lakmal and Eranga have over 50 Test wickets while Pradeep is just seven scalps short of reaching the 50-wicket mark.

Highlighting the positive aspects of each of the three bowlers, Ramanayake is hoping that one of them will go on to make a big impact in the upcoming Test matches.

"Suranga, Eranga and Pradeep are quite different bowlers, but they can all move the ball in these conditions," Ramanayake said.

"They are good on line and length. Hopefully one of them comes up with a very good performance - like taking five wickets.

"All are the same age and have matured together.

"That experience helps because you don’t get rattled when you get hit for boundaries - if you can always come back and bowl a good spell.

"Pradeep is a seamer, and is quite good with the semi-new ball and the old ball.

"He is very good against left-handers as well.

"Suranga and Eranga are very good with the new ball and both swing it. They bowl outswing to right-handers.

"These three are quite experienced, having played more than 20 Tests."

Sri Lanka also have all-rounder Dasun Shanaka, who on his debut at Headingley rattled the England top-order with a three-wicket haul.

Despite his heroics with the ball, Ramanayake said that Shanaka is more of a batsman but then admitted that it is a bonus to have a bowler like him in the side especially when the pitch assists seam movement.

"When you come to a seamer-friendly wicket, it’s a bonus to have a bowler like Dasun (Shanaka)," Ramanayake said.

"He picks up wickets also. I think he can be a genuine all-rounder definitely.

"At the moment he is a batsman more than a bowler, but his bowling is improving every day.

"He works very hard on both disciplines and can seam the ball off the pitch both ways."

If Sri Lanka are to have a chance to retain the bilateral Test trophy they won against England in 2014, they will have to avoid defeat in the second Test match in Durham which gets underway on 27th May.

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