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Murali set to play Lanka opener

Johannesburg: Sri Lanka received a boost Friday ahead of their opening World Cup game against New Zealand with the news that off-spinner Muttiah Muralidharan was fit to play.

Murali tore a thigh muscle during the recent one-day series in Australia and was considered doubtful for Monday’s key clash against the Black Caps.

But team physio Alex Kontouri declared Murali fit to play after he took part in a warm-up match against provincial side Free State at Bloemfontein Thursday.

The 30-year-old showed no signs of the injury as he conceded just 13 runs in eight overs for one wicket. “He is as good as before,” Kontouri said. “Since it was the World Cup we were a bit cautious about how soon to play him.

“But he came out well on Thursday and I see no reason why he will not take the field Monday.”

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