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Eng upbeat despite sickness of Giles

Ashley Giles has been isolated from his team mates while he tries to shake off a throat infection so he can play in the second Test in Sri Lanka.

india Updated: Dec 10, 2003 13:17 IST
Associated Press
Associated Press

Ashley Giles - England's hero in the opening Test - has been isolated from his team mates while he tries to shake off a throat infection so he can play in the second Test in Sri Lanka, the England coach said Monday.

The good news for the visitors is that Nasser Hussain is fit and will play in his 90th Test when the second of the series begins in this central Sri Lankan city on Wednesday.

Giles, 30, followed up his Test-best haul of eight for 133 by thwarting Sri Lankan spinners for 106 minutes on Friday, helping England salvage a draw.

Duncan Fletcher, the England coach, said Giles had been sick during his unbeaten knock at Galle, which held back Sri Lanka's victory charge.

"Ashley was sick during his innings, he deserves credit for going in and batting the way he did," Fletcher said. Giles has been prescribed medicine and told to relax in the hope that he will recover in time to play in the second Test.

"He's the one concern we have got at the moment," Fletcher said of Giles, who was separated from the 17-member squad when his symptoms became evident.

Former captain Hussain missed the series opener because he was suffering from the flu.

"He's a fighter and he has declared himself fit, so Nasser will play and bat at number four," Captain Michael Vaughan told reporters after Hussain, 35, went for a two-hour net session Monday.

"We might go in with six batters, and we will just try to work out over the next few days what we think the best formula is for that wicket," said Vaughan.

"Runs are very important but we also have to try to get 20 wickets out there as well," he said of the strong Sri Lankan batting lineup.

A return to Kandy's Asgiriya Stadium will revive happy memories for Hussain of leading England to a tour comeback Test victory there two years ago.

In 2001, England suffered an innings defeat in the first Test in Galle, but turned the tide against the Sri Lankans in Kandy and went on to win the series 2-1.

With the pitches in Kandy and Colombo - where the third and final Test of the series will be played from Dec. 18-22 - favoring England's pace-oriented attack, the visitors are hoping for an improved performance.

Fletcher said the spirit England displayed in coming out the Galle Test on even terms should spur the team in the upcoming matches.

"It was a tremendous achievement," especially after losing the toss that normally ensures victory in Galle, Fletcher said. Several "good sides had been thrashed" at Galle and "it would have been a huge blow if we had lost right at the death," he said.

The England team management was wondering Monday how to accommodate Hussain, a dominant batsmen for several years and one of the team's best players of spin.

Hussain's replacement in the first Test, debutant Paul Collingwood, played a significant role in England's defiance of the dominant Sri Lankan spinners.

Collingwood batted for nearly three hours to give England a hope of playing out the final day. His 36 was the second-best score in England's second innings, but its true value was in holding up one end.

"His temperament was good. He showed a lot of patience," Fletcher said.

The team was also waiting on the fitness of pace ace James Anderson who missed the first Test because of an ankle injury sustained while playing squash. He was retained in the squad in the hope he would recover for the last two Tests.

First Published: Dec 08, 2003 17:10 IST