Injury cloud over Murali, Matthews; Vaas, Randiv on standby

Sri Lankan spin bowler Muttiah Muralitharan. AP

The Sri Lankan cricket team led by Kumar Sangakkara arrived in Mumbai yesterday to play their second successive final of the mega-event after finishing runners-up to Australia four years ago in the West Indies.

Muralitharan has struggled with niggles through the tournament, including a hamstring injury, a side strain, a troublesome knee and a groin issue while Matthews suffered a minor injury while fielding during Sri Lanka's win over New Zealand in the semifinal.

Muralitharan also played in the semi-final in Colombo, despite not being in the best physical condition. The final, if he plays in it, will be his last international game as he had announced his retirement after the World Cup. Sri Lankan newspaper 'Daily News' quoted a team spokesman as saying that Mathews will need at least a couple of days to recover and will be working with the physio to be fit for the World Cup final on Saturday at the Wankhede Stadium.

Selection committee sources revealed that former Sri Lanka fast bowler Chaminda Vaas has been kept on standby as a replacement for 24-year-old Mathews. In addition, Suraj Randiv is likely to be the replacement as an emergency in case off spinner Muralitharan is also declared unfit for the final. Left-arm seamer Vaas last played an international game in July 2009, and hasn't featured in an ODI since August 2008. Randiv missed out on a World Cup spot to Rangana Herath and Ajantha Mendis.
The summit clash on Saturday would be the first-ever all-Asia final in the history of the tournament.

Sri Lanka have played four one-dayers at this venue, including a league match in this tournament against New Zealand. Out of those four, they have won two and lost two.

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