Kandy: Sri Lanka’s preparations for the second Test against the West Indies have been hampered by a flu virus that forced four players to miss team practice on Wednesday.
Top bowlers Muttiah Muralidharan and Chaminda Vaas ' who shared 14 wickets among them in the hosts’ six-wicket win in the first Test ' and vice-captain Mahela Jayawardene and Thilan Samaraweera all sat out the training session.
However, Sri Lanka captain Maravan Atapattu expects all of them to be fit for the final game of the two-Test series, which starts from Friday at Asgiriya International Stadium.
“We don’t think it is too serious but many of us have been struggling with this flu and Murali has been the latest victim,” Atappatu said after the practice session.
“But we are not too worried and tomorrow we want to have a more serious session. Hopefully the weather would remain good enough for all of us to have a proper bat in the nets,” he added.
Meanwhile, the second-string West Indies side will retain Jermaine Lawson for the second Test despite the fast bowler being reported for a suspect action.
International Cricket Council (ICC) rules allow a bowler to play on pending a written report from an independent analyst, but further scrutiny could see Lawson being suspended till he had rectified his action.
“It has been decided by the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) that Lawson will remain with the squad in Sri Lanka,” team spokesman Imran Khan said on Wednesday.
“The wicket looks hard and has some grass on it so it should have good carry and give the pacers some assistance,” captain Shivnarine Chanderpaul said after a rain-interrupted morning training session.
“In the last game we got ourselves into very good positions but then we let up and did not carry on when we were in front,” Chanderpaul added.
Uncapped opening batsman Ryan Ramdass is now available for selection after recovering from a shoulder injury.
It is no surprise that the West Indies, depleted by the absence of 10 leading players including master batsman Brian Lara due to a sponsorship dispute with their board, will risk Lawson again.
He was the lone bowler to trouble the Sri Lankans in the first Test, claiming four wickets in each innings by gaining considerable bounce even on the featherbed wicket at the Sinhalese Sports Club.
It is learnt that first Test umpires, Simon Taufel of Australia and Nadeem Ghauri of Pakistan, were concerned by Lawson’s action while bowling the short-pitched delivery.
“The umpires had concerns with potential elbow flexation when viewing the bowler’s action with the naked eye,” ICC Match Referee Mike Procter of South Africa had said in an earlier statement.
Taufel will stand again in the Kandy Test with Tony Hill of New Zealand.