Rangana Herath doubtful for World Cup quarter-final

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Sydney, Mar 17, 2015: Sri Lanka spinner Rangana Herath was rated as only "fifty-fifty" by captain Angelo Mathews for tomorrow's World Cup quarter-final against South Africa in Sydney.

World Cup Special; Quarter-final Schedule

The 36-year-old Herath needed four stitches in the spinning finger of his left hand after he tried to stop a full-blooded drive from England's Jos Buttler during Sri Lanka's nine-wicket win in Wellington on March 1 and hasn't played since.

File photo of Rangana Herath (right)

Herath's left-arm spin would be a useful addition to Sri Lanka's attack on a Sydney Cricket Ground pitch taking turn But Mathews speaking before practice at the SCG on Tuesday, said of Herath: "He's still fifty-fifty. He hasn't had a bowl yet. The physio has to have a look at him once again today.

"If he bowls at practice today he'll be in contention for selection. If not, he won't be playing."

Herath's chances of featuring against South Africa appeared slim after he managed just five balls in the nets on Tuesday before consulting the physio.

If Herath is ruled out, Sri Lanka have slow bowling alternatives in the off-spin of Tillakaratne Dilshan, primarily a batsman, leg-break bowler Seekkuge Prasanna and off-spinner Sachithra Senanayake.

'Playing at MCG or Sydney is like playing at home'

Mathews is also banking on home support at the SCG. "If you play at the MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground) or SCG it's like playing at home," Mathews said in the pre-match presser.

"Most of the Sri Lankans across Australia or across the world, they fly into Sydney with immense support for us, and we really enjoy playing in Sydney. We've been getting tremendous support wherever we played."

With many pundits hyping the contest as a de Villiers and Sangakkara clash, the Proteas captain brushes it aside and believes the game is above individuals.

"To be very honest, and I hope you don't take it the wrong way, I couldn't care less about him or me. I just want to win the game of cricket tomorrow," said the 31-year-old.

"If it's our No. 11 batsman tomorrow who wins the game for us, so be it. I just want to find a way to win."

Even Sri Lankan spin legend Muttiah Muralitharan has told the islanders to not obsess with de Villiers presence.

"I have two messages, win the toss and do not get too hung up thinking about AB de Villiers," Murali wrote in latest ICC column.

For the record the last 16 ODIs between the two teams have produced eight wins apiece and seven of the last eight 50-over clashes between them have been won by the side batting first.

PTI

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