World Twenty20 2012 September 26, 2012

Sri Lanka sweat over Mendis fitness

Sri Lanka are still unsure whether their key spinner Ajantha Mendis will be fit to play their first Super Eights match against New Zealand on September 27. Mendis, who is suffering from a side strain, is scheduled to practice with the team today, and a call on his participation will be taken before the game.

Mendis picked up the injury in Sri Lanka's opening game against Zimbabwe on September 18, but completed his overs after being treated on the field. He has since then been under treatment and was left out of Sri Lanka's final group match against South Africa on September 22; Sri Lanka lost that rain-curtailed game by 32 runs. Mahela Jayawardene, the Sri Lanka captain, had said Mendis' omission from the South Africa match on Saturday had simply been precautionary but, despite having eight days to recover, Mendis is yet to regain full fitness.

"We are monitoring his progress carefully. We took an MRI scan on his left side and it showed a slight tear," Charith Senanayake, the Sri Lanka manager, said on Tuesday. "These injuries are quite common with fast bowlers, but because Mendis bowls at a fast pace may have strained himself," he said. "Mendis bowled a few overs at the nets today, but we will monitor him carefully and take a call whether he is fit enough to play against New Zealand."

Mendis marked his return to international cricket after a back injury had kept him out for eight months in Zimbabwe game with the best bowling figures by a bowler in T20 cricket with six wickets for eight runs.