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Dilhara Fernando fit to play

Dilhara Fernando is ready to return after a career-threatening spinal injury, and may play against England in the Test series starting next month.

india Updated: Nov 25, 2003 12:29 IST

Sri Lanka's fast bowler Dilhara Fernando is ready to return after a career-threatening spinal injury, and may play against England in the first of the three-Test series starting next month, cricket officials said on Tuesday.

"Dilhara has recovered fully from his spine injury and he is 100 percent fit to play," Sri Lanka's fast bowling coach, Champaka Ramanayake, said.

Fernando, who has been out of international cricket for nearly seven months, has undergone fitness Tests without any problem, Ramanayake said.

England meets Sri Lanka Dec. 2 in the first of the three-Test series.

Fernando, 24, was forced out of international cricket by a stress fracture to his spine, suffered while bowling in Sharjah in April. Cricket selectors will welcome Fernando's return, as another fast bowler Prabath Nissanka, who filled in in his absence, was forced to undergo a knee operation and is out of action until February, 2004. Ray Illangakoon, a spokesman for Sri Lanka Cricket, said the final decision whether to play Fernando in the first Test will be made on Thursday.

Fernando has captured 33 wickets from 13 Tests, and 73 wickets from 55 one-day internationals.

First Published: Nov 25, 2003 12:09 IST