No Hair fear for Murali - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

No Hair fear for Murali

By Michael Donaldson 14/01/2003 05:54:05 AM Comments (0)

The prospect of bowling under the watchful gaze of Darrell Hair for the first time in seven years didn't faze Sri Lankan bowler Muttiah Muralitharan.

Seven years ago, Muralitharan was put under international scrutiny for his unusual bowling action when Hair no-balled him for illegal deliveries in the 1995 Boxing Day Test.

The "chucking" controversy reached a climax in a one-day game in Adelaide between Sri Lanka and England in 1999 when Ross Emerson again no-balled the off-spinner.

That sparked Sri Lankan captain Arjuna Ranatunga's threat to pull his players from the field.

Before this tour, there were suggestions Muralitharan wouldn't tour Australia because of fears he would be singled out because of his action.

Tonight, with the Barmy Army chanting "no-ball" for his first few deliveries, Muralitharan strolled past Hair and sent down his wide array of spinners and nothing untoward happened.

He finished the night with one wicket - his 300th in one-dayers - as Sri Lanka beat England by 31 runs.

Sri Lanka coach Dav Whatmore said Murali hadn't worried about bowling in front of Hair.

"He was OK, honestly," Whatmore said of the talismanic bowler.

"He was quite OK with it all and I didn't see any evidence to suggest otherwise."

"We have no problems with (umpiring) appointments, which we can't do anything about anyway."

In taking his 300th wicket, Muralitharan joined an elite club which includes Pakistan duo Wasim Akram (490) and Waqar Younis (409) and Indian Anil Kumble (302).

Muralitharan, who recently underwent a hernia operation, has only come back into the team for the past two games.

Whatmore admitted there was no coincidence Sri Lanka had started winning since his return.

"We've been losing a few matches without him and he comes back and we win two - so you'd be lying if you said he wasn't something of a catalyst," Whatmore said.

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