Sri Lanka hit by Murali, Matthew scare

MUMBAI - Sri Lanka's coach Trevor Bayliss says his team can defeat favourites India in Saturday's World Cup final despite injury worries to star bowler Muttiah Muralitharan.

Murali suffering from hamstring and knee injuries, skipped practice at the Wankhede stadium, raising doubts of his availability for the title clash.

But Bayliss said the off-spinner was determined to take the field in his last international match. "Chances are good that Murali will play," the coach said.

Sri Lanka are also sweating over all-rounder Angelo Mathews, who picked up a side strain during the semi-final win over New Zealand in Colombo. Veteran seamer Chaminda Vaas, 37, and off-spinner Suraj Randiv are being flown in as cover for the injured duo, but Bayliss confirmed Sri Lanka had not applied to the International Cricket Council for replacements.

Bayliss was confident Sri Lanka had a good chance to win their second World Cup title after 1996. "The pressure will be on India since they are playing at home, but we are familiar with the conditions in Mumbai.

Kumar Sangakkara's men, playing at home in Colombo, thrashed England by 10 wickets in the quarter-final before delivering a five-wicket blow to New Zealand in the semi-final.

Sri Lanka have prevailed in recent one-dayers against India, winning six of the 10 matches played last year in Dhaka, Harare, Bulawayo and Dambulla. But India have won five of seven matches against the Islanders on home soil over the last five years.

Sri Lanka, 1996 winners and 2007 finalists, want to win the cup for legendary spinner Muralitharan who will retire after a world record haul of 800 Test and 534 one-day wickets.

World Cup finals factfile

India and Sri Lanka clash in the 2011 World Cup final in Mumbai on Saturday in what will be the 10th title match in the tournament's history.

 

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