With Sri Lanka holding an unassailable 3-1 lead in the five-match One-Day International series against Pakistan, fast bowler Lasith Malinga is set to be rested in the last game at Colombo today. In normal circumstances, the hosts' coach Trevor Bayliss would have preferred that Malinga, 26, sit out of an inconsequential match anyway. But the Australian would have loved to see the unorthodox bowler take the field, considering his comeback from a long-term knee injury is far from complete.
Known for his sling-arm action, Malinga went for 79 runs in his 10 overs without taking a wicket in the fourth one-dayer on Friday. He came in for some harsh treatment from Pakistani teenager Umar Akmal, 19, in the 146-run defeat. Bayliss said Malinga's fitness to play in the 50-over game needed to be reassessed. "We got him in the team to try to bring him back after injury and try to rest him in some matches," Bayliss said.
"We brought him back through the Twenty20 when he had four-over spells, now we are trying to step it up a little bit to get him to bowl 10-over spells. "He's got a little bit of work to do on his fitness but that's only natural after being out for so long," Bayliss added. Thilan Thushara is set to join Malinga on the bench, which puts left-arm medium-pacer Isuru Udana in the mix. Batsman Nuwan Kulasekara could return after a game's rest.
"We had a long programme and we got a very busy schedule in front of us," Bayliss said. "We want to give some guys a bit of a rest in view of the New Zealand Test series and the Champions Trophy. It gives us an opportunity to play some of the guys on the fringes who are trying to make their way into international cricket and get into the team." * With agencies