Sri Lanka coach confident Murali will play final at ...

Sri Lanka coach confident Murali will play final at Mumbai

Tags: World Cup 2011, Sri Lanka, Muttiah Muralitharan, ICC Cricket World Cup 2011, Final

Published on: Apr 01, 2011

Sri Lanka coach Trevor Bayliss is hopeful that spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan will be fit enough to play his last match for his country in Saturday's World Cup final.

Sri Lanka coach Trevor Bayliss is hopeful that spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan will be fit enough to play his last match for his country in Saturday's World Cup final.

The world's leading wicket taker in Tests and limited-overs internationals has hobbled through to this stage, picking up hamstring, knee, groin and side injuries along the way.

Muralitharan skipped practice on Thursday but Bayliss said the 38-year-old spinner is unlikely to be denied the chance to face India at the Wankhede Stadium in what will be his last international match.

"Chances are good that Murali will play," Bayliss said. "He completed 10 overs in the semifinal, and such is the character of the man that he will play even with discomfort."

All-rounder Angelo Mathews sustained a quadriceps muscle injury while fielding in the semifinal win over New Zealand, and had to bat with a runner. Chaminda Vaas and Suraj Randiv have joined the Sri Lanka squad on standby in case either of the injured players has to drop out.

"We have asked for them just to be on the safe side, but Muralitharan and Mathews will be given as long as possible to prove their fitness," Bayliss said.

Despite his injuries, Muralitharan was a key figure in the semifinal win, taking 2-42 including a wicket with his final delivery on home soil for Sri Lanka.

On Saturday, Muralitharan will go up against the world's leading run scorer, India great Sachin Tendulkar.

India defeated bitter rival Pakistan by 29 runs on Wednesday to set up a final against its fellow co-host. Bayliss said he doesn't believe India will have an advantage by playing at home.

"This match is 50-50 at this stage. Obviously, there will be a lot of pressure on India to perform at home," the coach said. "We have been able to do that in the last couple of games and come out with two good wins. The boys are quite confident about their chances in this World Cup."

Sri Lanka also has the benefit of having played at the newly laid pitch at Mumbai, defeating New Zealand in the group stage.

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