Murali destroys Australia - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Murali destroys Australia

By Michael Donaldson 09/03/2004 05:22:39 AM Comments (0)

Shane Warne is back among the wicket-takers in Test cricket but his chief rival for the world record has further embellished his reputation as the spin guru of Galle by destroying Australia in the first Test here.

Sri Lankan spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan said Australia's aggressive approach to batting helped him to 6-59 as Australia was bowled out for 220 - the world champions' lowest first innings score since the third Test of the 2001 Ashes series.

"They played a few shots and were very positive and that helped me take few wickets," Muralitharan said.

"They want to play positive cricket - sometimes it works sometimes it doesn't work ... most of the time the bowler wins because you can't keep on attacking, you have to play defensive shots well."

At stumps Sri Lanka was 1-81 with Marvan Atapattu on 29 and Kumar Sangakkara on 16.

Murali's best haul against Australia took him to 491 wickets on the all-time list, briefly level with Warne, who is making his return to Test cricket after serving his year-long doping ban.

Warne took just 18 balls to answer Murali's challenge, his 492nd wicket coming late in the day when he trapped Sanath Jayasuriya (35) leg before wicket.

Once Warne's vigorous appeal was upheld, he was surrounded by his delighted team-mates who couldn't hide their joy at the legspinner's return to wicket-taking ranks.

Darren Lehmann, returning to Test cricket after five months out with injury, said it was obvious Warne was close to his classical best.

"Standing at bat-pad you could just see he was getting back to his best, it was great to see," said Lehmann, who top-scored with 63.

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