Awesome Murali chasing world record

Zimbabwe 234-9 v Sri Lanka
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The Independent Online

Sri Lankan spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan was closing in on all–time Test–best figures after taking all nine Zimbabwean wickets on day one of the second Test in Kandy.

He claimed his victims for just 51 runs as Zimbabwe closed on 234 for nine.

Should Murali take the remaining wicket, that of Travis Friend or Henry Olonga, without conceding more than a single, he will better Jim Laker's current world–leading figures.

English off–spinner Laker took 10 for 53 against Australia at Old Trafford in 1956, and India's Anil Kumble became only the second bowler to achieve the feat of skittling a whole team when he claimed 10–74 against Pakistan three winters ago.

Grant Flower's 72 was Zimbabwe's top score and they have done well to reach 234 after Murali earlier reduced them to 83 for five.

Friend (unbeaten on 28) and Olonga (17 not out) frustrated the Sri Lankans in the closing overs before bad light ended the day's play.

Muralitharan took nine for 65 against England at the Oval in 1998.

The 29–year–old has now taken 391 Test wickets, with this his 71st match.