In­dia suf­fer Vi­jay blow for Sri Lanka Test

The Pak Banker - - INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS/SPORTS -

In­dia´s de­pend­able opener Mu­rali Vi­jay has been ruled out of the first Test against Sri Lanka af­ter fail­ing to re­cover from a ham­string in­jury, team di­rec­tor Ravi Shas­tri said.

Vi­jay suf­fered the in­jury dur­ing last month´s lim­ited-overs tour of Zim­babwe, but was ex­pected to re­cover in time for the start of the three-match se­ries in Galle from Wed­nes­day (to­day). Shas­tri said the 31-year-old had not re­gained full fit­ness, deal­ing a ma­jor blow to the tourists´ hopes of win­ning their first Test se­ries in Sri Lanka in 22 years.

"Vi­jay has not fully re­cov­ered and we don´t want to take a chance," Shas­tri told re­porters at the Galle In­ter­na­tional Sta­dium. "It´s a big blow. He is the in-form player, had a fab­u­lous run in Test cricket and has the abil­ity to play long in­nings. He will be missed."

Vi­jay, who has scored 2,338 runs from 32 Tests at an av­er­age of 41.75 with six cen­turies, has been one of In­dia´s most con­sis­tent bats­men in re­cent times. In his last 10 Tests for In­dia, all of them in away se­ries, Vi­jay has av­er­aged 54.42 with three cen­turies and six half-cen­turies. He is only one of four play­ers in the tour­ing squad -- the oth­ers be­ing bowlers Harb­ha­jan Singh, Ishant Sharma and Amit Mishra -- who have played a Test in Sri Lanka be­fore.

Vi­jay´s ab­sence gives 23-year-old Lokesh Rahul a chance to open the in­nings with Shikhar Dhawan. Rahul, who scored a cen­tury against Aus­tralia in only his sec­ond Test ear­lier this year, made 43 and 47 for the tourists in the three-day prac­tice match in Colombo last week.

In­dia, now led by Vi­rat Kohli, have not won a se­ries in Sri Lanka since the 1-0 tri­umph un­der Mo­ham­mad Azharud­din in 1993. Since then, the In­di­ans have played four se­ries on the is­land, los­ing in 2001 and 2008 while draw­ing in 1997 and 2010.

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