ICL: Indian Cricket League

Jayawardene backs Sri Lanka to overcome Murali loss



Sri Lanka cricket team’s captain Mahela Jayawardene was adamant his side would cope with the absence of star bowler Muttiah Muralitharan as they looked to seal a One-day International (ODI) series victory against England at the Riverside here on Saturday.

Off-spin great Murali flew out of England to be with his young son who’d had an operation for a stomach complaint in Chennai, India and is unlikely to return for the final stages of Sri Lanka’s tour.

Having helped the tourists square the Test series against England at 1-1 with an impressive haul of 24 wickets at 16.87, Murali has been less prominent in the one-dayers, where Sri Lanka are 2-0 up in the five-match NatWest Series.

Sri Lanka’s pacemen have been to the fore, with veteran Sanath Jayasuriya’s left-arm spin the main slow bowling threat in the limited overs contests, Murali having taken just two wickets in his team’s decisive wins at Lord’s and The Oval.

But Jayawardene said the fact the team had enjoyed success when Murali, now 34, was out with a shoulder injury for a year, had shown they were more than a one-man team.

“Murali got the news on Thursday afternoon and in the night they decided they were going to do the operation,” Jayawardene said on Friday. “He had already made plans to leave and took an early morning flight.”

“Murali did the right thing by going. There are certain things which are more important than cricket and we wish everybody well. Obviously, he’s a senior member of the team and we’ll miss him but it creates an opportunity for another young guy to come in,” added Jayawardene, who indicated leg-spinner Malinga Bandara would take Murali’s place.

And Jayawardene said his side knew how to win without Murali. “The pleasing aspect of our one-day cricket in the past couple of years, because Murali was not part of our team for a year or so because of his injury, is that we won about 70 percent of our one-day games without him. Nevertheless, Sri Lanka still have a threatening spinner in Jayasuriya.
Source:The News

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