Vaas, Randiv to cover for Muralitharan, Mathews

Mumbai, March 31: Sri Lanka were hit by injuries ahead of Saturday’s World Cup final against India here and have roped in seasoned seamer Chaminda Vaas and all-rounder Suraj Randiv as covers for the injured duo of Muttiah Muralitharan and Angelo Mathews.

Muralitharan, the world’s highest wicket-taker in Tests and ODIs, has defied a series of injuries to his hamstring, groin and knee, besides an old side strain to play through the World Cup.

The 38-year-old, who will retire after the tournament, battled a knee injury against New Zealand in Sri Lanka’s last league match here to take four wickets. He then aggravated a quad muscle in the quarterfinal against England in Colombo, but turned out for the semifinal, which was also his last match on home turf.

Muralitharan is Sri Lanka’ top wicket-taker in the current tournament with 15 wickets.

Mathews, who scored an unbeaten 14 in the semifinal against New Zealand in a pressure situation, sustained a right side strain while fielding during the match Tuesday.

“We will give them full time to recover,” Sri Lanka coach Trevor Bayliss told newspersons here, adding: “We have called up Vaas and Randiv as covers.”

They expected to arrive here later Thursday.

The experienced Vaas was part of the 1996 winning team along with Muralitharan. The 37-year-old Vaas has led the Sri Lankan attack for more than a decade. He retired from Tests in 2009 with 355 wickets. He has 400 ODI wickets in 322 matches.

Vaas last played an ODI when India toured Sri Lanka in August 2008.

Randiv, who made his ODI debut in 2009, has 22 wickets from 21 matches.