Murali likely to miss Test warm-up

BRISBANE, Australia, Oct 30, 2007 (AFP) – Star bowler Muttiah Muralitharan is expected to be rested for Sri Lanka’s final warm-up match ahead of next week’s first cricket Test against Australia at the Gabba here. Captain Mahela Jayawardene indicated the spin wizard would sit out the three-day game with Queensland starting on Friday after his marathon bowling stint against the Cricket Australia Chairman’s XI at Adelaide Oval.

Muralitharan, nine wickets away from outstripping Shane Warne’s Test record of 708, proved his fitness from a bicep injury with 4-122 off 44 overs in Monday’s drawn three-day match.

A team spokesman said a final decision on Muralitharan’s availability was yet to be made after the Sri Lankan team arrived here Tuesday.

But Jayawardene hinted that Muralitharan was likely to miss Friday’s game as the tourists look to ease their trump card into the two-Test series starting at the Gabba on November 8.

“If he continues the practice and all that, if he’s happy with his rhythm we’ll probably keep him out,” Jayawardene told reporters.

“So if Murali feels that he’ll probably need another match before the Test match we’ll consider that, but if not we’ll probably keep him out.”

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