Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cricket: Record Delight for King of Spin

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cricket: Record Delight for King of Spin

Article excerpt

Byline: By Richard Gibson

MUTTIAH Muralitharan expects to hold his new Test bowling record for an eternity after passing Shane Warne in a hometown celebration.

Muralitharan, 35, became the most prolific bowler in the history of the game with the dismissal of Paul Collingwood, his 709th career victim, moments before midday at Asgiriya, a ground he first played on as a schoolboy 20 years ago.

That was the fifth wicket of his 6-55 as England were eventually bundled out by Sri Lanka for 281.

To add to the drama and sense of anticipation, Murali went wicketless in his initial nine-over spell, before striking with his fourth ball of his return, one which defeated Durham star Collingwood's attempt to guide to third man and clipped the top of middle-stump.

Murali's colleagues mobbed him in the middle and fireworks exploded in the stands to celebrate the achievement of hometown hero Murali - who has held the record once before when he surpassed Courtney Walsh's tally of 519 wickets in 2004.

Having gone past the retired Warne's tally, and with only Indian veteran Anil Kumble to have breached the 500-mark of current players, Murali's eventual haul is one which should be safe for deca des.

"I always said whoever played longer would have the record," said Murali. "When Warne stopped I thought I could go past him.

"Unless the next candidate - maybe Anil, if he plays more than me - can get the record, it will be held for a long time." Warne sent his spinning rival a good luck message via Sir Ian Botham before the start of the third morning and later said: "He's an excellent competitor and has been great for Sri Lankan cricket.

"He'll probably go on and get 1,000 now but today I'd just like to say, 'well done' on the record."

It will be a moment replayed time and again in future years but Murali admitted his historical dismissal owed something to fort une.

"I tried to spin the ball and the ball went straight," he said. "Because I was bowling with the new ball it skidded on. …

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