Murali Test record 'tough in Australia' - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Murali Test record 'tough in Australia'

By Philip Henderson 23/10/2007 05:36:29 PM Comments (0)

Mark Taylor believes spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan will struggle to break Shane Warne's wicket-taking world record during Sri Lanka's two-Test tour of Australia.

But the former Australian skipper doesn't agree with suggestions that when he eventually takes the nine wickets needed to overhaul Warne's mark of 708 Test victims, Muralitharan should have an asterix next to his name because of career-long doubts over his rubber-wristed action.

"I don't think you can do that, Murali has been through more bowling analysis tests that anyone can dream about, so I think if the ICC, the governing body, has given him the all clear to bowl, then just let him out there and bowl," Taylor said.

The ex-Test opener also said he was "disappointed" former Sri Lanka captain Arjuna Ranatunga had advised Muralitharan not to tour Australia and he predicted any heckling about the spinner's action would be short lived.

"I read Arjuna tried to talk him out of coming, and I think that would have been the worst thing he could have done," Taylor said of Murali, who boycotted Sri Lanka's last Test tour of Australia in 2004.

"Sure, there will be that small section of the crowd who will go there and in his first over ... yell out no ball every time for the first six balls, but once he gets into his spell, once the game gets going I'm sure people will just enjoy watching him bowl."

Muralitharan has averaged more than six wickets a game over his 113-Test career, but Taylor believes he is no certainty to break Warne's record in the series - pointing to the spinner's poor record in Australia (eight wickets in three Tests at 63.12) and the fact both matches are on wickets not often conducive to spin.

"Look it's not going to be easy," Taylor said.

"He's got two Tests in Brisbane and Hobart, and they're not noted for taking spin, although he gets a bit more bounce than most, so if he bowls well in Brisbane he's certainly a chance.

"I reckon he'd want to have five of them, in Brisbane, leaving himself four to get in Hobart.

"In Australia, Murali hasn't got a great record.

"Australia have generally played him on merit, they haven't worried if he was a chucker or not a chucker, they've just played him as a bowler and they've gone out and played pretty well against him, particularly in Australia.

"So the challenge is on Murali to do the job here for Sri Lanka."

Muralitharan and the Sri Lankan team arrive in Australia on Wednesday ahead of their tour opener against Cricket Australia's Chairman's XI in Adelaide starting Saturday, and the first Test at the Gabba from November 8.

Taylor also backed NSW batsman Phil Jaques to fill the Australian opener's spot vacated by the retirement of Justin Langer.

"Phil's timing this time around is excellent, the three hundreds he made in Pakistan on the Australia A tour and his 160 last week (against WA), those things are very hard for selectors not to notice," Taylor said.

"I'd say he's done more than enough, but having said that, there's probably a lot of guys around the country that probably feel the same way."

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