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There's a spin in the tale

india Updated: Apr 02, 2011 02:03 IST
Amol Karhadkar
Amol Karhadkar
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

On the eve of Sri Lanka's World Cup final, more than how he will bid farewell to international cricket, the big question was whether Muttiah Muralitharan will get the opportunity to bid adieu at the biggest stage.

Thanks to a string of injuries the champion off-spinner picked up during Sri Lanka's progress to the final, Muralitharan's training on Friday, like it was before the semifinal, was essentially a fitness test.

And the Sri Lankan camp heaved a sigh of relief at the end of the session when Murali was all but sure he can add one last cap to his 349 ODIs.

That means Sri Lanka, who have relied heavily on their spin attack in the Cup, will once again be bolstered in the tweakers' department. Moreover, with the likes of Rangana Herath and Tillakaratne Dilshan opening the attack earlier in the tournament, don't be surprised if Tendulkar and Sehwag have to face spin early on.

While Muralitharan is all set to feature in the team, Ajantha Mendis is almost certain to miss out on featuring in the biggest match of most of the islanders' career. The reason? The Sri Lankan team management is convinced the unorthodox leg spinner has been sorted out by Indian batsmen.

That is where Suraj Randiv's inclusion in place of the injured Angelo Mathews could come in handy as the tall off-spinner is a near-certainty in Sri Lanka's XI. Randiv, surprisingly left out of the original squad for the World Cup, will be effective at the Wankhede Stadium with his ability to extract bounce off the wicket.

Randiv's inclusion in place of Mendis would mean Sri Lanka will stick to their tried and tested policy of going in with three spinners. However, with Dilshan impressing with his part-time off-spinners, don't be surprised if Sri Lanka change their tactics due to Mathews' injury and opt to go in with either Randiv or Herath.