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It will be tough to fill up Sanga’s shoes: Mathews

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Sri Lanka skipper Angelo Mathews accepted that it will take time for someone to get into the boots of retiring legend Kumar Sangakkara but left-hander Upul Tharanga is someone they would be banking on to do the job as they take on India in the third Test starting tomorrow.

“After Sangakkara’s retirement, the rest of us that are left have not played too many Tests. It will take a long time to fill the gap that he has left. But I think the team we have now can do that,” Mathews sounded hopeful at the pre-match media conference here today.

Asked about Sangakkara’s possible replacement, Mathews named left-hander Tharanga.

“It has to be Tharanga definitely. In the last match, he hit a couple of 45s (46 and 48 vs Pakistan). He went out only because Sangakkara came in. We’re trying to find a good batting order. We don’t have a set batting order yet,” the skipper said.

Off-spinner Tharindu Kaushal is a doubtful starter after sustaining a hand injury in the second Test but a good news for the home team is that pacer Nuwan Pradeep is fit again after missing the second Test.

Another likely change could be Kusal Janith Perera coming in place of Jehan Mubarak. Perera could keep wickets, thus paving the way for Dinesh Chandimal to bat up the order.

Asked if it is the perfect time to play Perera, Mathews did not give a direct answer but dropped enough hints that the talented youngster might get a look in.

“You can’t really find a perfect time to bring a player into the team. Whenever he gets the opportunity, I’m pretty sure that he will come good. He is also a young exciting player. We are not afraid to take chances with that kind of player. Let us see if he plays.