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Saeed Anwar unlikely for opening game

Johannesburg: Opener Saeed Anwar is almost certain to miss Pakistan’s opening World Cup match against Australia on Tuesday at the Wanderers here.

Anwar has still not recovered from the elbow injury caused by a Shoaib Akhtar delivery during nets Monday.

“Chances of Saeed playing against Australia appear very slim as the injury will take time to heal,” said a Pakistan team source.

Anwar was recalled to the team for the World Cup after being ignored for the tours to Zimbabwe and South Africa.

The left-hander, who has played 243 ODIs and scored over 8,500 runs, has been in and out of the team since 2001.

Aussie injuries

Australia captain Ricky Ponting and leg-spinner Shane Warne both suffered injury scares five days before the world champions’ opening World Cup match, adds a report from Centurion.

Ponting was forced to pull out of Thursday’s warm-up match against South African province Northerns with a hamstring complaint, and Warne had to leave the field after injuring his finger.

Warne was cleared of any serious damage and returned to finish his spell, while a team spokesman said Ponting was only rested as a precaution.

He said both were likely to play against Pakistan in the first match of Australia’s World Cup defence.

Warne, who has taken 291 ODI wickets, continued bowling despite bruising one of the fingers on his bowling hand, but was generally ineffective, conceding 70 runs from his eight overs.

Left-handed opener Jacques Rudolph blasted 150 off just 141 balls, smashing 14 fours and six sixes, to help Northerns amass a decent total of 277.

Fast bowler Brett Lee returned figures of four for 28, including the last two wickets in successive balls, and paceman Jason Gillespie collected two for 31 in a tidy spell.

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