Reluctant captain Sangakkara stepping in for injured Dilshan

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The Independent Online

Sri Lanka will not be captained by a man with a fractured thumb. Instead, they are to be led out tomorrow by a chap whose arm has been twisted for several days.

Tillakaratne Dilshan's chances of recovering from an injury sustained at Lord's were always little better than non-existent but it took until yesterday afternoon for the tourists to admit defeat – and to persuade Kumar Sangakkara to take on a job he quit shortly after the World Cup final defeat by India in April.

Most importantly, Dilshan's absence robs Sri Lanka of a star batsman. There is no doubt, though, that finding a replacement leader has been harder than whistling up another opener, namely the uncapped Lahiru Thirimanne – who showed his form with a century in last weekend's game against Essex .

"Dilshan's injury meant that Kumar really had to captain the side, which he wasn't really mentally prepared to do," admitted the tour manager, Anura Tennakoon.

"But after some talking to him, and due to the situation, Kumar gave it some deep thought and decided to help the side, and the country, out by accepting that responsibility."

Sangakkara and another former captain, Mahela Jayawardene, are the most experienced members of the squad. It was Thilan Samaraweera, though, who led against Essex.

"I'm sure Kumar will try to do something worthwhile in this match, both as a batsman and as a captain," added Tennakoon.

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