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December 16, 2009
Sri Lanka's hopes of coming back from a 1-0 deficit in the ODI series against India have taken a hit with Muttiah Muralitharan and Dilhara Fernando being ruled out of the remaining four games because of finger injuries. Mulalitharan picked up his injury during the final Test in Mumbai as a result of which he missed the two Twenty20 matches as well as the first ODI in Rajkot. Fernando did not play in the Tests, but figured in the shorter formats and hurt his finger while attempting a return catch from MS Dhoni in Rajkot.
"We have decided to rest Murali from the one-day series to allow him to recover fully from the finger injury and to be available for future tournaments," Brendon Kuruppu, manager of the Sri Lankan team, told PTI today. "Fernando hurt his finger during that [the Rajkot] match. His replacement will be announced shortly."
While they are yet to decide on a substitute for Fernando, Sri Lanka will bolster their spin attack with two untested offspinners, Muthumudalige Pushpakumara and Suraj Randiv, who will join the squad in time for the second ODI in Nagpur on December 18. Pushpakumara was part of the Twenty20 squad and played in the first game, Sri Lanka's lone success so far on tour, before returning home. Randiv was a part of Sri Lanka's Test squad against Pakistan earlier this year, but is yet to play for the country.
Kuruppu also expressed hope that Lasith Malinga , who missed the first ODI due to injury, will be available for the second match.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.