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Published: Sunday, August 5, 2001, 23:53 [IST]
Copyright AFP 2001
Injured Laxman to miss Test series
Colombo: India's middle-order batsman Venkat Sai Laxman and left-arm fast bowler Zaheer Khan will be available for their team's remaining matches in the ongoing triangular One-day series.[an error occurred while processing this directive]Laxman (right knee) and Zaheer (right shin) were due to return home after Saturday's game against Sri Lanka because of their injuries. But it now appears they will remain on tour after all. "Laxman and Zaheer have offered to stay back and the team management has agreed," Indian manager Anant Mate said on Sunday. "Given their willingness to stay back and the team's situation in the tournament, the team management has decided to retain them for the remaining matches of the tri-series," he said.Mate added that Laxman would not be available for the forthcoming three-Test series against the hosts because he needed prompt surgery. The first Test begins at Galle on August 14.Both Laxman and Zaheer on Saturday played vital roles in India's seven-wicket victory over Sri Lanka, which sustained their team's hopes of qualifying for the final on August 5.Laxman scored an unbeaten 87 in India's first win in four matches after Zaheer (two for 30), along with left-arm seamer Ashish Nehra (two for 31) and off spinner Harbhajan Singh (two for 32), had restricted the home team to a modest 183.Sri Lanka and New Zealand will meet in the next game on Tuesday. India will take on the hosts on Wednesday and New Zealand the following day. Laxman said he had felt a little bit of pain and discomfort during his knock, but was determined to win the game for his team. "Once you are in the playing eleven, there is no option but to give your one hundred per cent," he said."It was an important match for us because we needed a win to stay in contention. I wanted to bat till the end and take the team home. "I did not want to throw my wicket away. I had made up my mind to settle down and pace my innings," said Laxman, who scored his second half-century of the tournament. Acting-captain Rahul Dravid praised Laxman's match-winning effort, but said India had yet to complete the job. "It was a good win, but we have to realise that it was still just one win," said Dravid, who led the squad in skipper Saurav Ganguly's absence.Ganguly was banned for one game for showing dissent during his team's 67-run defeat against New Zealand on Thursday. "The good thing is that we have not yet put ourselves out of the tournament," Dravid said. "With a bit of luck, we could be dangerous for others. If any side slips up, we will be standing right behind."