Prasad out of second Test
Kanpur - Sri Lanka suffered a setback ahead of the second Test against India starting here on Tuesday with injured paceman Dammika Prasad being ruled out of the match.
The 26-year-old right-arm quick had strained his hamstring during the first Test in Ahmedabad which ended in a high-scoring draw last week.
"We are not considering Dammika for this match," Sri Lankan captain Kumar Sangakkara told a pre-match press conference on Monday.
"He is recovering very well and we hope he will be available for selection for the third and final game in Mumbai."
Prasad, who has taken 13 wickets in four Tests, returned figures of 2-106 off 22 overs in India's first innings but could bowl just 13 overs in the second.
Sangakkara said the team could go in with a third spinner or opt for fast bowler Dilhara Fernando, who was flown in as a replacement for the injured Thilan Thushara ahead of the second Test.
"Prasad's injury means we can play three spinners if we want to. Ajantha (Mendis) is always in the reckoning and Fernando has also been bowling quite fast and accurately."
The tourists, seeking their first-ever Test win in India, picked left-arm spinner Rangana Herath to partner Muttiah Muralitharan ahead of Mendis for the first Test, going on form rather than past record.
Mendis, an unorthodox spinner, starred in Sri Lanka's 2-1 Test victory at home against India in 2008, picking a record 26 wickets, but his form has dipped of late.
The good news for Sri Lanka was the fitness of in-form opener Tillakaratne Dilshan, who scored 112 in Ahmedabad before hurting his nose during a game of football after the match.
"Dilshan had a broken nose but it has been fixed up. He is fine now," said Sangakkara.
The Sri Lankan captain also backed Muralitharan, who went wicketless in India's second innings, failing to get any assistance from the flat track.
"He is a legend. When you have a legend on your side, you will depend on him always. I don't think he is struggling. I am a very strong believer in Murali."
The 37-year-old spinner, 14 short of extending his world record Test wicket haul to 800, is playing his last overseas tour after having announced in July his intention to quit the longest format of the game next year.
The Indian camp meanwhile breathed a sigh of relief after captain and wicketkeeper-batsman Mahendra Singh Dhoni was cleared to play.
Dhoni had injured his finger during practice, prompting the team management to call in Dinesh Karthik as cover on Sunday.
"I was having a problem with my finger but now that I am fit, Karthik will be flying back to take part in a game for his state side," Dhoni said.
The Indian skipper also said he expected the wicket at the Green Park stadium here to be better than the Ahmedabad track which saw nearly 1,600 runs being scored over five days.
"The wicket is very different from the one at Ahmedabad," he said. "There is a lot of grass but it is dry underneath. We expect it to play good.
"The seamers will get help early on and there will also be some reverse swing for the bowlers to exploit."
The third and final Test begins in Mumbai on December 2.