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Sangakkara to don keeper's gloves

india Updated: Aug 12, 2006 16:10 IST
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After playing in the Test series against South Africa purely as a batsman, southpaw Kumara Sangakkara will be donning the keepers' gloves in the forthcoming tri-series to give Sri Lanka the luxury of affording an extra bat or bowler.

Sangakkara would be behind the stumps in the Unitech tri-series, also involving India and South Africa and the hosts play the Proteas in the opener at the Premadasa Stadium here on Monday.

Prasanna Jayawardene, who kept wickets in the series against South Africa, however, has been retained in the 14-member side and chief selector Ashantha de Mel insisted the team was yet to be finalised.

"It will depend on whether we go in with four bowlers or five. But we have not finalised the team yet for the opening game. It all depends on how the wicket looks like on Monday," the chairman of selectors told reporters.

Meanwhile, torrential rain washed off both the practice matches scheduled yesterday.

Sri Lanka had planned a Twenty20 match between two sides formed from current side, while South Africa was supposed to play Sri Lanka Cricket President's X1 at NCC grounds.

De Mel admitted Sangakkara was relieved of the duty behind the stumps to help him concentrate on his batting but the team think-tank won't repeat it in the tri-series.

"Unlike Test matches, it's just 50 overs or less he has to keep wickets. So, there is no problem in using him as the wicket keeper," he said.

According to team sources, former captain Marvan Atapattu is likely to miss the tri-series as the board doesn't want to rush his return to international cricket after recovering from a back injury.

De Mel, however, insisted that Atapattu can well play in one or two matches and a decision would be taken after assessing his fitness after a practice match here later today.

"This is mainly for him to get batting practice ahead of the triangular series," he said.

Meanwhile, South Africa is struggling with injuries and their stand-in captain Mark Boucher pulled out of the practice game against Sri Lanka Academy side with an elbow injury while Shaun Pollock is nursing a niggle.

The Proteas are also going to miss Makhaya Ntini in their opener because of a hamstring strain.

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