Injured Murali out of Pakistan Test

GALLE, July 3, 2009 (AFP) – Muttiah Muralitharan was on Friday ruled out of the first Test against Pakistan with a knee injury, dealing a huge blow to Sri Lanka’s bid to win the emotionally-charged series. The spin wizard hurt his patella tendon during training on Thursday and will sit out of the opening game of the three-Test series starting at the Galle International Stadium on Saturday.

The series opener will be the first Test match between the two nations since gunmen fired on the Sri Lankan team bus during a visit to Pakistan on March 3.

Sri Lankan captain Kumar Sangakkara said he was hopeful that Muralitharan, who boasts world records for his 770 Test and 505 one-day wickets, will be available for the second match from July 12.

“He was doing his warm-ups and he suddenly felt a bit of discomfort in his right knee,” said Sangakkara. “The scan report showed a slight tear.

“The risk of him tearing his tendon in the first Test is very high. I don’t think we want to risk him getting injured for a long time just for the sake of one Test. Hopefully he will be fit by the second Test.”

Seven Sri Lankan cricketers were injured and eight local securitymen were killed in the March

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