Cricket: `Throwing' bowler continues unchallenged

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Australia 500-6 dec Sri Lanka 29-1

Muttiah Muralitharan, the Sri Lanka off-spinner, survived further scrutiny of his suspect action yesterday, having been no-balled for throwing the previous day, as Australia's batsmen hammered his team on the second day of the second Test in Melbourne.

Muralitharan, urged by the International Cricket Council to alter his action after being no-balled seven times by the Australian umpire, Darrell Hair, bowled 20 more overs without being called for throwing.

Australia, meanwhile, extended their overnight 234 for 3 to 500 for 6 declared - Steve Waugh hitting an unbeaten 131 - and Sri Lanka were 29 for 1 at the close.

After his troubles on Tuesday, Muralitharan operated entirely under the gaze of the New Zealand umpire, Steve Dunne, at the bowler's end, with little or no discernible change in his action. In a confusing twist to the question over the legality of the Sri Lankan's action, Dunne did not intervene at any stage. Hair was equally silent as he looked on from square leg, the position from which an umpire usually calls a bowler for throwing.

Anura Tennekoon, the secretary of the Board of Control of Cricket in Sri Lanka, said he would approach the umpires over the issue at the end of the match. "We have to find out exactly from the umpires why some deliveries were called as no-balls and why some were not," he said.

"To be called in a Test match is rather harsh on a player. The fact that it has been done means we will have to take some action." Asked if that meant an official representation to the ICC, the game's world ruling body, Tennekoon said: "No."

He said Sri Lanka were not considering sending for a replacement bowler at this stage, but added: "It is one of the things we have to discuss."

(Second day; Australia won toss)

AUSTRALIA - First innings

(Overnight 234 for 3)

D C Boon c Muralitharan b Wickramasinghe 110

S R Waugh not out 131

R T Ponting c Gurusinha b Silva 71

I A Healy c Muralitharan b De Silva 41

P R Reiffel not out 4

Extras (lb8, w2, nb3) 13

Total (for 6 dec, 165 overs) 500

Fall (cont): 4-280 5-395 6-488.

Did not bat: S K Warne, C J McDermott, G D McGrath.

Bowling: Wickramasinghe 30.2-9-77-2; Vaas 40.4-11-93-1; Hathurusingha 9-0-23-0; Muralitharan 38-7-124-1; Gurusinha 2-0-8-0; Silva 35-5-120- 1; De Silva 10-0-47-1. (Vaas completed an over after Wickramasinghe left the field injured).

SRI LANKA - First Innings

U C Hathurusingha not out 16

R S Mahanama c Taylor b McGrath 3

A P Gurusinha not out 10

Extras 0

Total (for 1, 13 overs) 29

Fall: 1-3.

To bat: P A de Silva, *A Ranatunga, H P Tillakaratne, R S Kaluwitharana, W P U J C Vaas, G P Wickramasinghe, M Muralitharan, K J Silva.

Bowling: McDermott 4-1-12-0; McGrath 6-2-10-1; Reiffel 3-1-7-0.

Umpires: D Hair and S Dunne (NZ).