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Warne's Test chances boosted

By Paul Mulvey 16/06/2004 05:45:24 AM Comments (0)

Shane Warne's hopes of hauling in Muttiah Muralitharan's world record of Test wickets have been boosted by the latest positive reports on his broken hand.

Warne is now considered a big chance of playing in at least the second match of Australia's two Test home series against Sri Lanka next month after it was originally feared he would be out for five weeks.

After breaking a bone in his left hand while playing for English county club Hampshire last week, Warne was initially ruled out of the series, with the first Test starting on July 1 in Darwin and the second in Cairns on July 9.

Warne, 34, will fly to Australia from England on Friday and have x-rays on the break of his metacarpal bone on Monday with Australian team doctor Trefor James.

"At the moment it's too early to say, but he's 50-50 for the first Test," said Hampshire director of cricket Tim Tremlett.

"Obviously he's very keen to play, having missed so much cricket. But he's a real chance for the second Test match.

"There was no evidence of gross deformity, it's not a major break so it's just a question of it being immobilised with strapping.

"And it's on his left hand, so it's not his bowling hand."

The positive news for Warne comes a day after Muralitharan announced he would boycott the Top End series because of the way he is treated in Australia over his controversial bowling action.

Warne currently has 517 Test wickets, two behind retired West Indies paceman Courtney Walsh's old record and 10 behind Muralitharan.

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