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Lancs net Jayasuriya in shock swoop

Lancashire have pulled off an astonishing swoop by signing Sri Lankan batting legend Sanath Jayasuriya in time for next Friday's Twenty20 Cup lift off against Durham at Old Trafford.

Cricket manager Mike Watkinson confirmed the coup as his side prepared for their final Friends Provident Trophy clash against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge on Wednesday.

Jayasuriya, right, currently holds the record for the fastest international Twenty20 half-century, with his 51 off 23 balls coming against New Zealand last December. The 37 year-old temporarily replaces fellow countryman Muttiah Muralitharan - and is also available for the County Championship match against Yorkshire at Old Trafford in July.

advertisement"I'm extremely happy to have been called by Lancashire County Cricket Club to participate in the forthcoming season," said Jayasuriya.

"It is a privilege to be associated with Lancashire after having played almost two decades of cricket all around the world. I look forward very much to playing for Lancashire."

The left-hander has 14 Test and 25 one-day international centuries to his name, and will also prove a handy performer with his slow bowling.

He has had previous county experience with Somerset, in 2005, and recently retired from international cricket following the World Cup, where Sri Lanka lost to Australia in the final.

Watkinson added: "Sanath and Twenty20 cricket is an exciting prospect. He has a tremendous record in one-day cricket, and we are delighted he will be joining us."

Muralitharan will travel back home to feature in a three-match Test series against Bangladesh after Friday's four-day game against Kent. He will be back at Old Trafford on July 20.

Watkinson's capture will surely make the Red Rose county favourites for a competition in which they have reached Finals Day twice before.

Australian Brad Hodge is considered by many as the world's best exponent of the format - and with the likes of Mal Loye also in the mix, there is no reason why Lancs cannot triumph at Edgbaston in August.

Lancashire, who have already been knocked out of the competition, will be looking for their fourth Friends Provident Trophy win against Notts at Trent Bridge.

A win would also prevent the hosts from qualifying for the semi-finals of the competition.

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