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Malinga gives Sri Lanka some MCG Test tips

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Saturday, December 22, 2012

MELBOURNE - Sri Lanka are tapping into Lasith Malinga's local knowledge as they prepare for their first MCG Test in 17 years.

None of the current tourists was around for Sri Lanka's only previous Test at the ground - the Boxing Day Test of 1995 - when Muttiah Muralitharan was famously no-balled for throwing.

Retired Test speedster Malinga, playing in the Big Bash League with the MCG-based Melbourne Stars, was at his national team's training session on Friday, talking with coaching staff and players.

In-form batsman Tillakaratne Dilshan said while the pitches for the shorter forms of the game would differ from that for the Test, Malinga's advice would be useful for Sri Lanka's inexperienced attack.

"When you're playing one-day cricket, he's having a chat with all the bowlers, he's leading the bowling and he's a leader for the Sri Lankan team," Dilshan told reporters after training.

"He's giving some tips.

"He's playing here - he might know what's happening with the wicket, how the wicket is behaving here, especially as he's been playing the last two weeks here.

"I think it's good for the bowlers to hang around with him."

But while bowling coach Champaka Ramanayake on Thursday expressed hope that Malinga might return to Test cricket, Dilshan considered that highly unlikely.

"If he comes back, it's good for the side definitely - everyone is happy if Lasith can play - but I don't think he's going to change his mind," he said.

Dilshan said the Sri Lankans would relish the opportunity to play Tests at famous venues, the MCG and SCG.

The 36-year-old, who has scored three 100s in his past four Tests, including in the first innings against Australia in Hobart, confirmed he was contemplating retirement from Test cricket.

He said the Sydney Test could be his last outside Sri Lanka.

Fellow batsman Thilan Samaraweera has already said this might be his last overseas Test tour, while Mahela Jayawardene plans to relinquish the captaincy after this series.





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