Island Cricket

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Sri Lanka face selection dilemma

Sri Lanka must decide whether to recall Lasith Malinga for the second and final Test against Australia in Hobart after he was omitted in Brisbane. Chaminda Vaas, on 99 Tests, is most vulnerable, while Kumar Sangakkara may come back into the side to replace Thilan Samaraweera after injury.

Australia will name the same side that thrashed Sri Lanka in Brisbane. Michael Clarke is the only minor doubt with a tight hamstring, but the 26-year-old is expected to recover.

Sri Lanka need their fast bowlers to offer better support for spinner Muttiah Muralitharan, who needs only seven wickets to pass Shane Warne's world bowling record. And captain Mahela Jayawardene hinted that Vaas will be the man to miss out.

"We have four quicks and Muttiah so we will have to make a decision," he said. "Malinga is an attacking option. We need to win a Test match. I think there's a good possibility he can come into the side. "I made tougher decisions than this in the World Cup - when we left Marvan Atapattu out - and in England.

"It's a decision you have to take regardless of seniority or the [past] performances of the guys, just on form and who you think can get the job done." Australia skipper Ricky Ponting believes the match will be closer than his side's opening Test victory, by an innings and 40 runs.

"There is a fair bit of moisture on the surface so it will probably spin from day one," said Ponting. "It's only one Test in Brisbane we have played well [since the retirement of Glenn McGrath, Shane Warne and Justin Langer] and this Test could be different."

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