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Sri Lanka sweat on Malinga for third Test

August 02, 2010 17:28 IST

Lasith MalingaSri Lanka are sweating on the fitness of Lasith Malinga as the fast bowler battles to recover from injury and illness ahead of the third and final Test against India starting in Colombo on Tuesday.

Malinga took seven wickets in Sri Lanka's first Test victory in the three-match series at Galle, but was rested from the high-scoring second Test which ended in a draw on Friday after suffering knee soreness.

Malinga, who also suffered a bout of fever, turned up at practice on Sunday under the watchful eye of selectors.

"He didn't bowl with his full run up and bowled at half pace," said Sri Lanka chairman of selectors Aravinda de Silva.

"In the event Malinga doesn't pull through we'll have to decide who will spearhead the bowling attack from the remaining fast bowlers in the squad," he said.

Dammika Prasad, who suffered from breathing problems and only bowled in short spells during the second Test is unlikely to come into consideration, while Dilhara Fernando showed little to impress the selectors with his pace.

That leaves Sri Lanka with either left-armer Chanaka Welegedara or uncapped 23-year-old Nuwan Pradeep.

Welegedara dismissed Virender Sehwag twice but was left out of the second Test to sort out his rhythm with coaching staff.

Spinners Ajantha Mendis and Suraj Randiv took six wickets between them on the dead Singhalese SC track and are likely to retain their places ahead of left-arm spinner Rangana Herath.

Any hopes that Sri Lanka might dislodge India as the top Test nation with a 2-0 series win were dashed by revised ICC Test rankings.


Tendulkar scored a double-century but missed the final day's play of the second Test with a groin strain.

Tendulkar's selection would see him move past Steve Waugh's 168 tests to become the most capped Test player in the world.

Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni's major concern should be his bowling attack, however, which has failed to bowl a single side out this tour.

Although fast bowler Ishant Sharma and newcomer Abhimanyu Mithun captured nine of the 15 wickets to fall in the series, the inexperienced attack has missed injured fast bowlers Zaheer Khan and Shanthakumaran Sreesanth and conceded totals of 514-9, 520-8 and 642-4 in batsmen-friendly conditions.

"If it's always about bowlers turning up and taking 20-odd wickets on wickets that are in favour of the batsmen, it's not really possible," Dhoni said.

"It's not the first time we are playing a test match or a series where we haven't been able to get the batsmen out.

"We play a lot of Tests, ODIs and with IPL also coming in, we need fast bowlers who are fit, which means you need to have eight to 10 fast bowlers whom you can rotate around and still play with your best bowling attack," he said.


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