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Mathews likely to Lanka’s Champions Trophy opener

Britain Cricket - Sri Lanka Nets - The Oval - 25/5/17 Sri Lanka's Angelo Mathews during nets Action Images via Reuters / John Sibley Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY.

London [UK]: In a major blow to Sri Lanka, skipper Angelo Mathews is likely to miss his side’s Champions Trophy opening match against South Africa on Saturday because of a calf injury.

“Mathews had complained of stiffness and pain, prompting the team management to conduct radiographic investigations, which revealed a strain on the muscle,” ESPNcricinfo quoted a Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) release as saying.

“He will engage in supervised recovery over the next few days but will most likely sit out the first group stage match,” it added.

In Mathews’ absence, vice-captain Upul Tharanga will most probably lead the team

It should be noted that Mathews has not played any international match since January because of a hamstring complaint, and had also missed a tri-series in Zimbabwe late last year because of “multiple injuries” in his legs.

However, the 29-year-old featured in the 10th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) for Delhi Daredevils recently before joining his countrymen for the Champions Trophy.

A joint-winner in 2002, Sri Lanka have only reached the semi-final stage once since, getting to the last four in the 2013 edition, also in England.

After their first match against the Proteas on June 3, they will next face India (June 8) and Pakistan (June 12).

Sri Lanka squad: Angelo Mathews (capt), Upul Tharanga (vice-capt), Niroshan Dickwella, Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis, Chamara Kapugedera, Asela Gunaratne, Dinesh Chandimal, Lasith Malinga, Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Pradeep, Nuwan Kulasekera, Thisara Perera, Lakshan Sandakan, Seekkuge Prasanna. (ANI)