Sri Lanka’s Malinga holds key in one-day series

DUBAI, November 10, 2011 (AFP) – Rival captains Misbah-ul Haq and Tillakaratne Dilshan agreed sling-action paceman Lasith Malinga could make the difference when Pakistan and Sri Lanka play their first one-day international here on Friday. The 28-year-old fast bowler, who bowls with a round-arm action is fresh from his exploits in last month’s Champions League where he finished as the player of the tournament in Mumbai’s title triumph with ten wickets.

Pakistan captain Misbah conceded Malinga could be vital.

“Malinga is a very good bowler, he makes a difference and everyone knows he is a good bowler,” said Misbah on Thursday. “We have played very well against him but they have an edge with him in the side.”

Pakistan won the preceding three-Test series 1-0 when Sri Lanka were without Malinga who retired from Test cricket earlier this year because of persistent injury problems. Dilshan said Malinga, who has 149 wickets in 94 one-day internationals, is an asset for his team.

“Lasith is one of the assets for Sri Lanka,” said Dilshan. “He is one of the great bowlers in the world and he can guide other bowlers as well and his comeback in the series is a good sign for the team.”

Malinga was also sidelined with injury when