A little over eight months ago, Muttiah Muralitharan bowed out of the Test arena in style - taking his 800th scalp and helping his team win a Test match.
The champion off-spinner had then expressed the desire to help his team win the World Cup before bidding adieu to international cricket. Murali has certainly played a big role in Sri Lanka's journey to the semifinals.
But on the eve of the last-four clash, the 38-year-old was unsure of finding a place in the 11 against New Zealand due to fitness concerns. During Sri Lanka's league tie against New Zealand, despite damaging his knee while attempting a run, a limping Murali came up with his best spell in the tournament.
The off-spinner had just about recovered in time for Saturday's quarterfinal against England when he suffered another injury. "He knocked his knee in Mumbai and has aggravated a quadriceps muscle, a very slight strain. So, it's not the same injury," Sri Lanka skipper Kumar Sangakkara said on Monday, adding, "We will have to monitor his fitness."
While Murali slugged it out at the nets on Monday, a few yards away Sangakkara was involved in a discussion with chairman of selectors Aravinda de Silva.
"It's no use thinking about the final and saving him for other games. This is the crunch game and if he can play tomorrow that'll be great. If that doesn't work out, we have got enough cover to make sure we are still a solid side," Sangakkara said.