Gambhir, Harbhajan ruled out of third Test

August 2nd, 2010 - 10:28 pm ICT by IANS  

Gautam Gambhir Colombo, Aug 2 (IANS) India’s hopes of levelling the Test series against Sri Lanka received a set-back after opener Gautam Gambhir and off-spinner Harbhajan Singh were ruled out with injuries for the third and the final cricket Test here starting Tuesday.
Gambhir, who missed the second Test with a knee injury, is still recovering while Harbhajan is down with a side strain and calf injury.

“Gautam is out of the match and Harbhajan is also very doubtful,” said India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni after the training session at the P. Sara Oval.

Murali Vijay, who replaced Gambhir in the second Test, will once again open the batting with Virender Sehwag and leg-spinner Amit Mishra is likely to replace Harbhajan, who has two wickets in the first two Tests.

But Dhoni declined to reveal, who would bat at number six — Suresh Raina or Yuvraj Singh. Raina scored a century on debut in the last Test match.

“We will announce the team before the toss,” Dhoni said.

Dhoni also made it clear that Vijay will open the innings and it would be unjustified to play either Raina or the fit-again Yuvraj as opener just for accommodating the two left-handed batsmen.

“Neither Yuvraj or Raina have opened, so it will be unjustified to place them there. We will go in with two specialist openers,” he said.

With a 1-0 lead, Sri Lanka skipper Kumar Sangakkara is happy that his lethal fast bowler Lasith Malinga has recovered from the knee injury after missing the second Test.

“Malinga is back and strong and he had a good bowl at the nets,” said Sangakkara.

On the pitch, Sangakkara said: “A lot will depend on how you play on it because looks can some times be deceptive. But I think there will be a result.”

“Our focus is on playing good cricket over the five days and put enough pressure on the Indians to take their 20 wickets, which is not easy to do on any surface,” he said.

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