Spinner and batsman Axar Patel will replace suspended Ravindra Jadeja in India’s squad for the third and final Test against Sri Lanka, the team said on Wednesday.
Patel, 23, has played 30 one-day internationals and is now in line for his debut Test if he is picked for the match in Pallekele, starting Saturday.
Jadeja, the world’s top Test bowler, was slapped with a one-Test ban for a dangerous throw during his match-winning performance in the second Test in Colombo.
He was also docked half his match fee by the International Cricket Council over the incident, which was his second transgression within a 24-month period.
The Virat Kohli-led India are eyeing a series sweep after taking an unassailable 2-0 lead when they completed an innings win in Colombo on Sunday.
Key bowler Rangana Herath has joined Sri Lanka’s growing injury list ahead of the start of the third and final Test against India starting on Thursday, in a blow to their hopes of a consolation win.
The 39-year-old spinner, Sri Lanka’s number one and the world number three in Tests behind India’s Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin, is out with a back injury, chief selector Sanath Jayasuriya said.
“Herath will not be able to play in the third Test,” Jayasuriya said. “He is suffering a stiff back.”
Sri Lanka have already suffered crushing defeats in the first two Tests and losing Herath compounds their problems.
All-rounder Asela Gunaratne and bowler Nuwan Pradeep picked up injuries in the first and second Tests respectively.
Skipper Dinesh Chandimal missed the first Test after being hospitalised for pneumonia, and fast bowler Suranga Lakmal was ruled out before the series.
Herath’s place is likely to be taken by left-arm spinner Malinda Pushpakumara.
India will also be handicapped by the one-match ban slapped on Jadeja by the International Cricket Council for dangerous play.
The left-arm spinner was reprimanded for a dangerous throw in the second Test in Colombo. He was also docked half his match fee and given six demerit points by the ICC over the second incident in a year.
After the final delivery of the 58th over, fielding off his own bowling, Jadeja threw the ball back at batsman Dimuth Karunaratne, who had not left his crease.
The ball narrowly missed him in a manner which the umpires deemed “dangerous”, the ICC said. Jadeja took five wickets to help dismiss Sri Lanka for 386, as India triumphed by an innings and 53 runs to wrap up the series.
It takes just 10 minutes to journey from one Old Trafford to the other but there is very little to suggest you are ambling between two cherished theatres of sport.
Manchester is hardly a city for vanity projects, though if it was, a Hollywood boulevard of sorts could pave the way from one ground to the other.
Wasim Akram, Bobby Charlton, Clive Lloyd, Cristiano Ronaldo. Instead there are two unassuming signposts, Brian Statham Way and Sir Matt Busby Way, to remind you of the tales that can be told in an otherwise modest, working-class area.
One such yarn is still being spun as Lancashire’s James Anderson, from the newly christened James Anderson End, produced a first-innings performance that a 35-year-old James Anderson has no right to produce.
Physically there is very little difference between the Anderson of today and the Anderson of seven or eight years ago, and you’ll find even less variation in his line and length, ball after ball.
Some may swing, others may do nothing at all, but you may as well wait for the Burnley Express to retire before spotting a bad ball.
And what of retirement? Every player north of 30 is faced with the question but all the while Anderson’s bowling average has been heading south.
Defying age, however, is not altogether uncommon in those parts. Ryan Giggs would be one of the first stars laid down on that theoretical Walk of Fame and as the years progressed with Manchester United, he became famed for his longevity as much as his left foot.
The similarities really are uncanny. A younger Anderson had to remodel his action after a spate of back injuries and for Giggs it was his hamstrings, which saw him turn to yoga and limit his top speed.
Then there is the obsessive nature. Anderson once explained to Sky Sports that, with a fractional late movement of his wrist, he could control which the way the ball would swing.
There is also a story that a right-handed Giggs exclusively used his left hand for a month to rewire his brain and aid his crossing. He played darts, table-tennis and more before he could hit a cross into a gym ball, thrown up into the air, nine times out of 10.
Giggs retired when he was 40 and while fast bowling places greater demands on the body, Anderson can hope to reach the next decade in England whites.
This winter’s Ashes may seem the obvious stop-off point for Anderson but an Australian great in Glenn McGrath did not possess the same box of fast bowling tricks – and roared on until two months shy of his 37th birthday.
McGrath, who was all about vicious pace and bounce, finished his last-ever Test series with a heap of wickets in a 5-0 thrashing over England.
If Anderson’s fitness holds, his subtleties could – whisper it quietly – see him last until 40. It may just be the beginning of the James Anderson End.