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Fernando to be fit for one-dayers

Sri Lankan pace bowler Dilhara Fernando is expected to be fit for the one-day series, coach Duleep Mendis said Wednesday.

india Updated: May 10, 2003 11:36 IST

Sri Lankan pace bowler Dilhara Fernando failed to recover from a back injury to make the squad for the second Test against New Zealand, but is expected to be fit for the limited-over tri-series, team coach Duleep Mendis said Wednesday.

"Dilhara's not fully recovered from his back trouble and we did not want to risk aggravating the problem by playing him in the second test," Mendis said before the Sri Lankan squad left for Kandy, where the second test starts Saturday.

"He should be in good shape for the one-day series." Pakistan will join New Zealand and Sri Lanka for the May 10-23 tri-series that features a double-leg preliminary series and a final between the two top teams.

Fernando went through a fitness test Tuesday before the Sri Lankan selectors picked the squad for the second match of the two-test series. The first test ended in a draw Tuesday.

His fitness test was conducted by the team's longtime physiotherapist Alex Kountouri, who has completed his eight-year stint with the Sri Lankan team.

Kountouri was relieved of the assignment after he expressed a desire to return to Australia.

A stand-in physiotherapist will take over from Kountouri until the board finds a suitable replacement.

With Fernando ruled unfit, the Sri Lankan cricket selectors retained the 15-member squad of the series opener. The squad, led by Hashan Tillakaratne, will have five specialist batsmen, four bowlers and three all-rounders.

First Published: Apr 30, 2003 12:21 IST