Colombo, Feb 13 (AFP) Sri Lankan coach Trevor Baylissstressed the need for veteran off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharanto be fresh for Sri Lanka''s World Cup bid.
The record-holding wicket-taker in both Test and one-daycricket was rested for Sri Lanka''s opening warm up matchagainst the Netherlands yesterday, which the hosts won by acomfortable 156 runs.
"Murali is getting towards the end of his career and wewant to make sure that he is mentally and physically fresh toplay the game we want him to play," said Bayliss of thespinner who has taken 800 Test and 519 one-day wickets.
Muralitharan has vowed to end his international career ona high at the end of the World Cup, which starts next week andis jointly hosted by India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
Bayliss, who has also hinted leaving the job after thetournament, called on his team to be clinical in every match.
"The word clinical was one of the words used at the teammeeting before the practice match," said Bayliss whose teamfaces the West Indies in their final warm-up match on Tuesday.
Hailing the victory over the Netherlands Bayliss, whotook over in August 2007, said posting a big total of 350 was"pleasing"
Batsmen Tillakaratne Dilshan (78), Thilan Samaraweera(60), Chamara Silva (54) and Chamara Kapugedera (50 n.o)looked in good nick, before paceman Dilhara Fernando (4-43)helped restrict the visitors to 195 all out.
Senior batsman Mahela Jayawardene was also rested -- andBayliss felt happy at the strength of Sri Lanka''s emergingtalent as the side looks to a future without the talismanicMurali.
"There are some very good young players in the Sri Lankanline up and in the reserves as well. The future looks brightfor Sri Lankan cricket.
Sri Lanka face Canada in their opening match atHambantota on February 20, a day after the World Cup opens inDhaka with a match between India and Bangladesh. (AFP) PM