Tribute to Murali: The spin wizard and the doosra specialist Muttiah Muralidaran bids adieu to test cricket by finishing up as only man on the planet to take 800 wickets in tests. He earns the distinction of being the only one to take 50 or more wickets against every other test playing nation. Murali made his debut 18 years ago and was a key member of the World Champion Srilankan team of 1996. His unusual action, especially while bowling the doosra, came under severe scrutiny, however he was cleared by ICC as they amended the rule to allow certain degree of bending in the bowling arm. Murali always remained a mystery bowler for most teams throughout the world. Australian spin giant Shane Warne and him played a tug of war in terms of number of test wickets, however once Warne hung up his boots, there was no competition for Murali. Among the current players, the only bowler closest to him is Harbhajan Singh with 355 test wickets, so most likely, Murali’s record may remain unattainable.
Galle: Srilanka, aided by Malinga’s five-for, have now gone up 1-0 in the 3 test series. India’s hopes died in the first fifteen minutes on the last day as yet another Malinga yorker crashed into stumps to dismiss the Indian skipper. The lower order batsmen, Mithun, Sharma, and Ojha gave a good fight along with Laxman, in first avoiding the follow-on and then playing out some more overs, however, the un-necessary risky single resulted into Laxman’s run-out and ened the team’s resistance. Team India needs to rethink all departments of their games as their captain confessed that they were out played in 11 out of the 12 sessions. The positives in batting were Sehawag and Sachin, while Ishant’s brief spell on day 3 showed some signs of his come-back. Team India would have their task cut out for second test in Colombo that begins on next Monday.
Headingly: Advantage Pakistan? Not really, yet. Aussies did very well to restrict the Pakistanis to 258. For Pakistan, all of their top six, got a start and went past 20, however barring openers no one could get past 40. They really needed at least a couple of big scores to seal the fate of this test in their favor. In that perspective Australians should commend their bowlers as they did not let Pakistan bat them out of the game. Ponting, right now, is leading the Australian fight back as they are inching closer to wiping out the deficit of 170 in their second innings and have only lost 2 wickets. The memories of the Sydney test earlier this year must be still fresh in both teams’ mind. This one is heading for an exciting finish for sure. Australia were 136/2 as bad light stopped play on day 2.
-Nikhil Sharad Jadhav