South Africa 169 & 434 Sri Lanka 756-5 dec: Muralitharan wraps up victory

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The Independent Online

The Sri Lanka captain, Mahela Jayawardene, may have earned the man-of-the-match award for his record-breaking batting in the first Test win over South Africa, but he hailed the role played by Muttiah Muralitharan.

The off-spinner took 6 for 131 in the second innings to complete a 10-wicket haul, the 17th of his career, as Sri Lanka won by an innings and 153 runs on the final day yesterday.

The South Africans resumed the day on 311 for 4 hoping to save the game, but Muralitharan took the key wickets of Ashwell Prince (61) and Herschelle Gibbs (18) in the morning and then helped polished off the tail after lunch. He added figures of 6 for 131 to a four-wicket first-innings haul.

Jayawardene, who scored 374 in a world-record stand for any wicket of 624 with Kumar Sangakkara in Sri Lanka's innings, was delighted with the victory in the first of two Tests.

"It's a very satisfying win for us," he said. "I think it was the result of the hard work we put in on the first three days. Lots of credit goes to the bowlers, who toiled on a very difficult pitch. Muttiah Muralitharan was brilliant - his achievement was remarkable. It was difficult for me to get the ball off him.

"It was a very good toss to lose as I was planning to bat as well. As for our batting, we did maintain an excellent run rate. It is a good feeling to be playing our brand of cricket."

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