Saturday 17 November 2007 

Problems Mount For Sri Lanka With Maharoof Foot Injury

Sri Lanka's troubled tour of Australia worsened on Saturday with news pace bowler Farveez Maharoof is almost certain to miss his team's upcoming series against England.

Maharoof badly injured his foot during the second test against Australia in Hobart and captain Mahela Jawardene said he had been diagnosed with a stress fracture.

"He'll be out for at least four to five weeks, it could be a bit more than that depending on how he will feel especially because he is a fast bowler and he needs to put his weight on that ankle," Jayawardene told a news conference.

"He'll be definitely out of the England test series."

Jayawardene said Maharoof suffered the injured on the opening day on Friday but continued to bowl after getting it strapped.

However, he did not take any part in the match on Saturday, leaving the tourists a bowler short.

"Maharoof started complaining about the ankle yesterday and we got it strapped up and he bowled really well with it yesterday," Jayawardene said.

"He's a guy who hit the seam and keep it there and the other two guys can be a bit more attacking so when I lost him it was very difficult for me to have the combinations going but that's how it is."

Australia's batsmen took full advantage of Sri Lanka's depleted bowling attack, piling on 542 for five in their first innings before declaring after tea on the second day.

GOOD SCORE

Sri Lanka were 30-0 in reply when bad light forced an early end to play but needing a strong batting performance on Sunday to avoid another heavy loss following their innings defeat in last week's first test in Brisbane.

"It is a pretty good score on this wicket. It is a flat wicket and we need to do all the hard work tomorrow and make sure we don't lose early wickets," Jayawardene said.

"We have to try to bat through the day and see where we are at."

Jayawardene said he had not given up hope of his team winning the match but said a lot of it would depend on spin bowler Muttiah Muralitharan, who has only managed three wickets in the series.

Muralitharan needs a further six wickets to break Shane Warne's world record of 708 test victims and while it seems he will have to wait until the next series against England, his skipper said it was not beyond him.

"Murali has been trying really hard and we haven't helped him out in that manner, but credit should go to the Australians, they've batted really well against Murali," Jayawardene said.

"Their top order have played him pretty well. They haven't taken too many risks, batted through and have put a lot of pressure on us.

"But Murali is a freakish guy... he's taken 700 test wickets. If he's given another innings he just might on a turning track pick up five, six wickets just like that."

© Reuters 2007

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