WC 2003 - Jayasuriya doubtful for Super Six clash against India
Published: Saturday, March 8, 2003, 22:50 [IST]
Copyright AFP 2001
Jayasuriyas WC hopes alive, X-rays reveal no fracture
Johannesburg: Sri Lankan captain Sanath Jayasuriya, recovering from a battering by Australian paceman Brett Lee, is unlikely to play the World Cup Super Sixes match against India on Monday."He was in considerable pain and he needs time to recover," a team source said on Saturday. The aim is to get him ready for the game against Zimbabwe next Saturday."Jayasuriya suffered bruising to the left forearm and a fracture in the thumb after being hit by a 150kmh thunderbolt from Lee in the second over of Friday's game against the reigning champions.Having retired hurt for one, Jayasuriya was taken to hospital for x-rays and returned to the SuperSport Park in Centurion just before Australia completed an emphatic 96-run victory.But the Sri Lankan camp is relieved that Jayasuriya, the team's highest scorer in the tournament so far with 270 runs, was not ruled out for the rest of the World Cup as initially feared."His forearm is badly bruised and x-rays revealed a slight fracture," team manager Ajit Jayasekera said. "We will have to wait and see what happens. It is not as bad as we first thought."Even if the inspirational captain and all-rounder is available for the match against Zimbabwe at East London next Saturday, his absence against India at the Wanderers on Monday will be a major blow.Sri Lanka, which carried forward 7.5 points from the preliminary league, must defeat both India and Zimbabwe to ensure a place in the semi-finals. It could go through with one victory, but only if the results of the other matches go its way.Sri Lanka has Avishka Gunawardena in the squad to take Jayasuriya's place as opener, but the hard-hitting left-hander has not played a game since Sri Lanka arrived in the first week of February."Let's see what happens," Jayasuriya said. "I would love to play against India but it all depends on my fitness. I always try my best and would have given it a shot against Australia had I been fit. It was disappointing to see from the outside but I was helpless."We know the game against India is very vital now. We have had some very good matches against India and hope everything will fall into the right place for us in the second match."Sri Lankan coach Dav Whatmore, meanwhile, said his team will bounce back just as it had done after losing to Kenya in the first round. "The match against India will be another test of character," the Australian-born Whatmore said."India are not a bad side and we desperately need to put some points on the board. We could get through with one win but the objective is to win every match."The game against Australia was disappointing. We didn't play to our potential, bowled short and fielded poorly and if you allow a team like the Australians chances you have to pay for dearly and we paid."Asked how the Australians can be stopped, Whatmore said, "It is difficult to say how to stop them, they are playing with supreme confidence. It does not matter to them some players get injured, someone else pops out to match the performance."For us, it is important now to get ready for India." The Indians are 5.5 points ahead of Sri Lanka after beating Kenya by six wickets in their first Super Sixes match at Newlands, Cape Town on Friday.