Sri Lanka cricket teamâ€™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 whoâ€™d had an operation for a stomach complaint in Chennai, India and is unlikely to return for the final stages of Sri Lankaâ€™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 Lankaâ€™s pacemen have been to the fore, with veteran Sanath Jayasuriyaâ€™s left-arm spin the main slow bowling threat in the limited overs contests, Murali having taken just two wickets in his teamâ€™s decisive wins at Lordâ€™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.
â€œMurali got the news on Thursday afternoon and in the night they decided they were going to do the operation,â€ Jayawardene said on Friday. â€œHe had already made plans to leave and took an early morning flight.â€
â€œMurali did the right thing by going. There are certain things which are more important than cricket and we wish everybody well. Obviously, heâ€™s a senior member of the team and weâ€™ll miss him but it creates an opportunity for another young guy to come in,â€ added Jayawardene, who indicated leg-spinner Malinga Bandara would take Muraliâ€™s place.
And Jayawardene said his side knew how to win without Murali. â€œThe 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.
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Post InfoThis entry was posted on Saturday, June 24th, 2006 and is filed under General.
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