Sydney: Sri Lanka paceman Lasith Malinga believes his bowling rhythm is returning at the World Cup after undergoing ankle surgery in September.
The sling-arm fast bowler has relied on pain killing injections to make it through his matches at the tournament but says he is feeling more comfortable on the field.
The 31-year-old, the only bowler in history to claim three hat-tricks in one-day internationals, said he doesn`t expect to play pain-free but wants to be a part of Sri Lanka`s bid to win a second World Cup after losing in the last two finals.
"I really struggled after my surgery in Melbourne," Malinga told the Australian Associated Press on Saturday.
"There`s still pain in my ankle, but I had to get used to it. Because I wanted to play in this World Cup, whether that meant injections or whatever.
"It`s getting there. I don`t think I will be pain-free, but I want to get my rhythm back to perfect."
Malinga endured a tough start to the World Cup, going wicket-less for 84 runs off his 10 overs in his team`s 98-run loss to New Zealand.
But he has since picked up seven wickets as Sri Lanka have won their last three matches against Afghanistan, Bangladesh and England.
On Sunday, he will be key when Sri Lanka face Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground where the winners will likely avoid in-form South Africa in the quarter-finals.
Former skipper Mahela Jayawardene is confident Malinga will be back to 100 percent in no time.
"He`s definitely improved," Jayawardene said of Malinga`s progress over the past three weeks in Australia and New Zealand.
"His variations are coming good; his pace has picked up. It`s about him having the confidence to put weight on that ankle. In the last two to three weeks, he`s got that confidence back, so the pace has built up."
Malinga, who has taken 278 wickets in 181 ODIs, said there was plenty he could call on when coming up with plans for Australia at the SCG.
"We can watch all the video in the world, but the really important thing we have to be concerned with is our strengths," Malinga said.
"That`s how we`ll win the game. We`re not looking too much over their weaknesses.
"All their batsmen are really good players and in good form, but they`ve all been dismissed.
"Our bowlers just have to bowl good deliveries. We can match it with them."