| England captain Michael Vaughan practises the reverse sweep as wicketkeeper Chris Read looks on in Colombo on Thursday. (Reuters)
Colombo: England’s fast bowler, James Anderson, has hurt his right ankle while playing squash and will miss Friday’s one-day International against Sri Lanka, a team spokesman said.
“We are checking on him again today to see the extent of his injury, but he will surely miss Friday’s match,” Mark Hodgson said on Thursday.
The match, the second in the three-match series, is crucial for England, because a defeat would put it out of the contention.
Sri Lanka crushed the visitors by 10 wickets in the opening match on Tuesday in Dambulla.
Hodgson said Anderson hurt his ankle on Wednesday after a wet outfield forced the players to stay in their hotel. He will be replaced by seamer James Kirtley or spinner Gareth Batty depending on the pitch conditions.
This was England’s second setback in recent weeks.
Steve Harmison pulled out of the upcoming Test series because of a lingering back injury. The lanky fast bowler had flown home from Bangladesh, having missed the second Test because of lower back pain.
Harmison’s absence seriously weakens the England bowling attack in the three-Test series that begins at the southern port city of Galle on December 2.
Meanwhile, the Sri Lankans are likely to play the same squad that defeated the Englishmen in the first one-dayer. “The selectors will field the same team, unless there are last minute changes,” Sri Lankan Cricket spokesman, Ray Illangakoon, said.
Friday’s match will be played at Premadasa Stadium, which traditionally favours spin bowlers. Selectors may decide to include experienced offspinner Kumara Dharmasena at the expense of a seamer if they find the wicket favouring the spinners.
Sri Lanka went in with three pace bowlers on Tuesday, two of them making their debuts. The trio took seven wickets to dismiss England for 88 — their second lowest total in a one-dayer.
English skipper Michael Vaughan has vowed to bounce back and square the one-day series.“We want to make sure that we work hard in the next two days, analysing the game,” Vaughan said.
Sri Lanka coach John Dyson expects England to return to form quickly following their humiliating 10-wicket loss in the opening match. “We have seen that England are gelling into a good unit and that defeat might have been a wake-up call,” Dyson said.
Sri Lanka captain Maravan Atapattu said his side remained full of confidence. “We know that we can wrap up the series if we play like we did on Tuesday,” the skipper told reporters.
Anderson will miss the next two one-day matches and is in doubt for next month’s first Test because of the ankle ligament injury. “We need a couple of days to assess but the doctors are optimistic that he will be back between 10 days and two weeks,” England physiotherapist Dean Conway said.
Sri Lanka (from): Maravan Atapattu, Sanath Jayasuriya, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Russel Arnold, TM Dilshan, Upul Chandana, Kumar Dharmasena, Nuwan Zoysa, Muttiah Muralidharan, Chamara Silva, Nuwan Kulasekara, Chaminda Vaas, Romesh Kaluwitharana, Dinusha Fernando.
England (from): Michael Vaughan, Gareth Batty, Ian Blackwell, Rikki Clarke, Paul Collingwood, Andrew Flintoff, Ashley Giles, Richard Johnson, James Kirtley, Anthony McGrath, Chris Read, Vikram Solanki, Andrew Strauss, Marcus Trescothick.