Murali is 100 per cent fit: Sangakkara

Last Updated: Mar 25, 2011, 16:59 PM IST

Colombo: Sri Lankan skipper Kumar Sangakkara said spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan has recovered from his hamstring injury and would be playing the World Cup quarterfinal against England.

Muralitharan had strained his hamstring during their 112-run victory over New Zealand in a group A match last week but Sangakkara said the off-spinner is fit and would be an important part of the side tomorrow.

"Murali is fine, he is 100 per cent which is great for us," Sangakkara told reporters here.

"He`s a guy who rises to occasion and does really well in big games," he added.

Muralitharan is the highest wicket taker in ODIs, taking 530 wickets and is the only player in the current squad to have played in their historic quarterfinal victory over England in the 1996 World Cup.

The 2007 finalists, Sri Lanka head into the quarterfinal against England at home and would be under extreme pressure but Sangakkara said it would be a battle of nerves where both the teams will face equal pressure.

"What you lose is a semi-final berth, so I don`t think any side is going to want to lose that. So wherever you play that incentive is going to be there and all sides feel that pressure equally," said Sangakkara.

"I think it will be there (pressure), but that kind of thinking goes out of the window when you cross the boundary rope. I am sure players will feel the crowd, they`ll lift themselves and do well," he added.

Sri Lanka finished second in group A with nine points, winning four matches and losing to Pakistan and having their game against Australia washed out.

England, in contrast, have endured a topsy-turvy ride so far in the tournament where they beat South Africa, tied against India but lost to Ireland and Bangladesh.

But Sangakkara exuded confidence that his team was capable of lifting themselves and beating three-time finalists England tomorrow.

"It`s a do-or-die so my guys are pretty much focused, very well tuned into what`s happening and they`ll look to do everything they can to win," said Sangakkara.

"I think England are one of the best sides in this tournament," he added.

"They have won close games so we know how tough they can be. We are expecting nothing less than the best from them."

The winners of tomorrow`s match will clash with either South Africa or New Zealand, who are locked in a quarter-final battle in Dhaka today in Colombo.

PTI