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Page last updated at 11:39 GMT, Friday, 3 July 2009 12:39 UK

Muralitharan blow for Sri Lanka

Muttiah Muralitharan
Muralitharan suffered a knee injury during practice on Thursday

Sri Lanka spinner Muttiah Muralitharan will miss the first Test with Pakistan after hurting his knee while fielding during a practice session on Thursday.

Off-spinner Suraj Kaluhalmulla and left-arm spinner Rangana Herath have been brought in as replacements.

"I was hoping to play but when (physio) Tommy Simsek saw the scans we realised I needed to rest," said Muralitharan.

Security is high in Sri Lanka with the Galle Test coming four months after a terror attack on the team in Pakistan.

The terrorist ambush outside the Gadaffi Stadium in Lahore killed six police officers and a driver and saw seven Sri Lanka players wounded.

One of those players was batsman Thilan Samaraweera, who scored two consecutive double-hundreds during the tour.


A bullet lodged in Samaraweera's thigh during the attack, raised concerns for his cricket future, but new Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara says Samaraweera has fully recovered and has prepared well for the series, which starts on Saturday.

"He has made a good return to cricket," said Sangakkara.

"He has played in some practice matches. We are enthusiastically looking forward to see him play in the first Test."

Opening batsman Tharanga Paranavitana, who sustained a chest wound in the attack, will also be taking part in an international match for the first time since the ambush.

The risk of him tearing his tendon in the first Test is very high

Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara

The Test at the Galle International Stadium in Sri Lanka will be the first time the pair have faced each other on the Asian subcontinent since the attack, although they did meet in the final of the ICC World Twenty20 at Lord's in England last month.

Pakistan won that clash, overhauling Sri Lanka's total of 138-6 with eight balls remaining.

Sangakkara said he was hopeful that Muralitharan, who has taken a record 770 Test and 505 one-day wickets, would be available for the second Test on 12 July.

"The risk of him tearing his tendon in the first Test is very high," said Sangakkara.

"I don't think we want to risk him getting injured for a long time just for the sake of one Test. Hopefully he will be fit by the second Test."

The two countries are scheduled to play five one-day internationals and a Twenty20 match after the three-Test series.

Sri Lanka (from): Kumar Sangakkara (capt), Malinda Warnapura, Tharanga Paranavitana, Mahela Jayawardene, Thilan Samaraweera, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Angelo Mathews, Chamara Kapugedera, Ajantha Mendis, Rangana Herath, Suraj Mohamed, Thilan Thushara, Nuwan Kulasekera, Dhammika Prasad, Kaushal Silva, Suranga Lakmal.

Pakistan (from): Younus Khan (capt), Salman Butt, Khurram, Manzoor, Mohammad Yousuf, Misbah-ul-Haq, Shoaib Malik, Kamran Akmal, Umar Gul, Saeed Ajmal, Mohammad Aamer, Danish Kaneria, Abdul Razzaq, Abdur Rauf, Fawad Alam, Faisal Iqbal.

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see also
Yousuf returns to Pakistan fold
22 Jun 09 |  Pakistan
Champions Pakistan make tour plea
21 Jun 09 |  Cricket
Pakistan power to Twenty20 glory
21 Jun 09 |  Cricket
Pakistan in Sri Lanka 2009
14 Jul 09 |  Cricket
Gunmen shoot Sri Lanka cricketers
03 Mar 09 |  South Asia

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