Muralitharan signs up to élite 500 club

Australia 120 Sri Lanka 92-7
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The Independent Online

The Sri Lankan off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan became the third member of the élite band to take 500 Test wickets yesterday when he clean bowled Australia's Michael Kasprowicz on the first day of the second Test here.

The Sri Lankan off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan became the third member of the élite band to take 500 Test wickets yesterday when he clean bowled Australia's Michael Kasprowicz on the first day of the second Test here.

Muralitharan follows the West Indies paceman Courtney Walsh and Shane Warne - who reached the milestone during the first Test in Galle last week - but is quickest to the mark in 87 Tests.

"I think 500 wickets is never easy as it will naturally involve a very long career," Muralitharan said. "I am very lucky to have got to that mark. It is significant that I got my landmark here as I grew up in Kandy. And to do it against the Australians is significant as I made my debut against them, so it is a very special moment."

At 31, Murali should still have several years left at the top and is expected to eclipse Walsh, who is the leading Test wicket-taker with 519.

"I think it is difficult to gauge as to how long I will go on," he said. "But the 2007 World Cup will be a target and maybe 20 to 30 more Test matches."

Australia fought back magnificently after posting a poor first-innings total as they restricted Sri Lanka to 92 for 7 in reply to their 120 all out at the close of play on day one.

The tourists were skittled out for their lowest total against Sri Lanka who then surrendered control after Kasprowicz and Warne led the tourists' fightback with the ball.

First day of five; Australia won toss

AUSTRALIA - First Innings
J L Langer lbw b Zoysa 3
M L Hayden lbw b Muralitharan 54
R T Ponting lbw b Vaas 10
D R Martyn lbw b Muralitharan 1
D S Lehmann b Zoysa 8
A Symonds c Tillakaratne b Zoysa 6
A C Gilchrist c Sangakkara b Zoysa 0
S K Warne c Muralitharan b Vaas 18
J N Gillespie c Jayawardene b Muralitharan 8
M S Kasprowicz b Muralitharan 0
S C G MacGill not out 8
Extras (b1 lb3) 4
Total (42.2 overs) 120

Fall: 1-25 2-47 3-50 4-60 5-84 6-84 7-86 8-100 9-106

Bowling: Vaas 11.2-5-14-2, Zoysa 16-3-54-4, Muralitharan 15-4-48-4.

SRI LANKA - First Innings
M S Atapattu c Gilchrist b Kasprowicz 9
S T Jayasuriya lbw b Kasprowicz 1
D A Gunawardene lbw b Kasprowicz 13
K C Sangakkara c Symonds b Gillespie 5
D P M Jayawardene c Symonds b Warne 17
H P Tillakaratne c Gilchrist b Warne 16
T M Dilshan lbw b Warne 0
W P U Vaas not out 16
D N T Zoysa not out 0
Extras (b4 lb9 nb2) 15
Total (for 7, 39 overs) 92

Fall: 1-6 2-34 3-39 4-49 5-67 6-67 7-88

To bat: K S Lokuarachchi, M Muralitharan.

Bowling: Gillespie 12-4-25-1, Kasprowicz 15-4-33-3, Warne 8-2-15-3, Symonds 2-1-1-0, MacGill 2-0-5-0.

Umpires: S A Bucknor (WI) and D L Orchard (SA).

TOP FIVE TEST WICKET-TAKERS

519 Courtney Walsh (WI) 132 matches
501 Shane Warne (Aus) 109
500 Muttiah Muralitharan (Sri Lanka) 87
434 Kapil Dev (India) 131
431 Sir Richard Hadlee (NZ) 86

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