Theekshana, the SLC revealed, had suffered an injury to one of his fingers on his right hand – his bowling hand – during the first Test against Pakistan
, which Sri Lanka lost by four wickets. He had only made his Test debut in the second Test against Australia
earlier this month, having been drafted into the Test side following a spate of Covid-related withdrawals. He kept his place in the side for the first match against Pakistan, but proved largely ineffective, picking up just two wickets – though he did impress with the bat, with his role in a stubborn ninth and tenth wicket stand in the first innings helping rescue Sri Lanka from a dire position on the first day.
His replacement Manasinghe offers little by way of extra experience – though his 17 first-class appearances outweigh Theekshana’s five. And in those 17 games, the 22-year-old Manasinghe has largely impressed, picking up 73 wickets at an average of 26.38, including six five-wicket hauls. Most recently, he picked up 13 wickets for Sri Lanka A across two unofficial Tests against Australia A
. He also offers a certain level of proficiency with the bat lower down the order, having racked up five FC fifties.
With the second Test also taking place in spin-friendly Galle, Manasinghe is well set to make his debut as Sri Lanka will likely go in yet again with a spin-heavy attack.
Nissanka’s return to the playing XI however is less certain, with his replacement at the top of the order, Oshada Fernando, having impressed in his absence with scores of 35 and 64. Of Sri Lanka’s frontline batters, only Niroshan Dickwella has failed to impress in recent times, though as wicketkeeper his omission would require one of Dinesh Chandimal or Kusal Mendis to take up the gloves – with both seemingly hitting form purely as batters, this might be something the Lankan think-tank is averse to. Nissanka, for his part, has had a rapid start to his Test career, notching a century and five fifties in his first 15 innings.
The second Test between Sri Lanka and Pakistan will begin on July 24.