Murali threatens to turn nasty - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Murali threatens to turn nasty

By Will Swanton 18/03/2003 06:24:57 AM Comments (0)

Muttiah Muralitharan says Australia has a weakness he can exploit, the kind of flaw he's preyed on for years: a vulnerability against the slow, turning ball.

Big-name players rise to big-match occasions.

There are few bigger players in the game than Muralitharan and there are few more spine-tingling occasions than Tuesday's World Cup semi-final between Australia and Sri Lanka at St George's Park.

The winners go into the final. The losers can please themselves.

For all the considerations given by the Australians to Sri Lanka's captain Sanath Jayasuriya, opener Marvin Atapattu and new-ball bowler Chaminda Vaas, Muralitharan - Wisden's Test bowler of the century - is the man they fear the most.

"I am not easy to pick," said Muralitharan, who has 320 one-day and 437 Test wickets.

"Even in our team, some people can't pick me and they play me at club level and in the nets. But when players aren't used to playing me, it's harder I think.

"Their batters are good, but I think they can be a little vulnerable to spin. Their weakness is spin. We have planned what we have to do. I think it's a good plan."

Muralitharan trots to the crease harmlessly enough but then his arms and wrists and elbows unleash the ball in a blur. It fizzes through the air at deceptive pace and then bounces either straight on, or from off stump to leg, or from leg to off, either high or low.

"He is a freakish sort of bowler," said Australian captain Ricky Ponting, who made 114 against Sri Lanka two weeks ago.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2022 AAP

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