Jaya tipped to play 1st Test in 6 months

Published on Mar 25, 2006 03:49 PM IST

He looks set to play his first Test in six months on Sunday when Sri Lanka meet Pakistan in their series opener.

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None | ByAssociated Press, Colombo

Sanath Jayasuriya looks set to play his first Test in six months on Sunday when Sri Lanka meet Pakistan in their series opener.

"There is a good probability him making into the XI," Sri Lanka stand-in skipper Mahela Jayawardene said during a practice session ahead of the first Test at Colombo.

"He batted really well, he has done his fitness test and the fielding schedules as well." Nagging injuries and poor form have kept Jayasuriya on the sidelines in recent months.

"No problems with him right now, I can say there is 90 percent chance of him playing tomorrow morning," Jayawardene said.

Jayasuriya, 36, a veteran of 100 Test matches and 357 limited-overs internationals, has been in and out of the national team since aggravating a shoulder injury last August.

He last played a test match against Bangladesh in September and later in the year was overlooked for a three-match Test series against India because of poor performance in the preceding limited-overs series.

Earlier this year Jayasuriya was rested for the test series in Bangladesh after playing the limited-overs series.

Sri Lanka go into the test series without regular captain Marvan Atapattu and seam bowler Chaminda Vaas because of injury. Having lost the three-match limited-overs series 2-0, Jayawardene said his aim in the Tests will be to deny Pakistan an early advantage.

"We have to take one session at a time and try and be ahead after the first six sessions which is the first two days of the Test match," Jayawardene said.

"Especially against Pakistan, experience shows that if you give them early advantage they are going to run away with that."

Pakistan's strength have largely been their batting, but Jayawardene said he expected a disciplined performance from his bowlers.

However, he added that his own batting form has been inconsistent with many good starts not converted to big scores.

Jayawardene scored his last Test century in New Zealand in April, 2005 and has since got out six times after scoring a half-century.

"It remains that I just have to a bit more tightened in my approach and try and plan my innings a bit more and occupy the crease," he said.

"If I can do that I should be able convert these starts which I have been getting in the past six months into big scores, which is my goal."

Pakistan have had most success in Tests against Sri Lanka, winning 14 of the 30 matches played. Sri Lanka have won seven matches.

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