x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Muralitharan out of one-day series

Sri Lanka off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan and fast bowler Dilhara Fernando will miss the rest of the one-day series in India because of finger injuries.

Sri Lanka off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan and fast bowler Dilhara Fernando will miss the rest of the one-day series in India because of finger injuries. Muralitharan hurt his bowling hand in the third and final Test against India earlier this month and missed two Twenty20 internationals as well as the first one-day international in Rajkot, which the hosts won by three runs.

"We have decided to rest Murali from the one-day series to allow him to recover fully from the finger injury and to be available for future tournaments," Brendon Kuruppu, manager of the Sri Lankan team, said yesterday. Off-spinners Muthumudalige Pushpakumara and Suraj Randiv have joined Sri Lanka's squad to bolster the bowling in Muralitharan's absence. Fernando fractured a finger while attempting to take a return catch from India captain MS Dhoni in the first one-dayer.

Uncapped Suranga Lakmal has been named as his replacement. Kuruppu, meanwhile, expressed hope that fast bowler Lasith Malinga, who missed the first ODI due to a bout of flu, will be available for the second match to be played in Nagpur tomorrow. In other news, the International Cricket Council (ICC) president David Morgan expects day-night Test matches to be introduced within two years. The ICC view the ground-breaking change as a means to drive up dwindling attendance figures in parts of the world where the five-day game's popularity is suffering.

Test cricket remains hugely popular in England and Wales but Morgan said day-night Test matches could still be a worthwhile addition. "At the ICC we regard Test cricket as pinnacle of the game - it's the form of the game cricketers seek to play," he said. "The ICC has recognised that in some countries Test cricket is not that popular in terms of people paying at the gate. If you look at a country like Australia with big stadia and very hot conditions, it's made for day-night Test cricket.

"Eighteen months ago I wouldn't have been overly enthusiastic about this, thinking of tradition and records. But Test cricket has changed over 130 years and there are now very good reasons for bringing crowds out. "I'd be surprised if we don't see day-night Test cricket within the next two years - surprised and disappointed. There is no reason why day-night Test cricket won't be attractive in England, like one-day and Twenty20."

Brad Hodge will not play first-class cricket again after a knee injury ruled the Victorian out of what was slated to be his last game - against New South Wales in Newcastle starting tomorrow. Hodge, who has struggled with knee injuries, had announced his retirement from first-class cricket last month due to family commitments. He will, however, continue to play limited-overs cricket. * With agencies