Fri, Jul 13, 2007 - Page 24 News List

Muralitharan spins himself closer to 700 Test wickets

AFP, KANDY, Sri Lanka

AFP, KANDY, Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan got his 59th five-wicket haul before rain played havoc in the final cricket Test against Bangladesh yesterday.

The off-spinner finished with 6-28 as Bangladesh were shot out for 131 in their first innings before lunch on the second day at the Asgiriya stadium.

Heavy rain soon after Bangladesh were dismissed forced Sri Lanka to wait until an hour after tea to begin their reply and they managed to play only 8.4 overs before rain set in again.

abandoned

Sri Lanka were 30-0 when play was abandoned for the day with Michael Vandort on 25 and Upul Tharanga on four.

The hosts, seeking a 3-0 sweep of the series after winning the first two Tests, have been frustrated by the rain interruptions, which allowed just 29 overs on Wednesday and 28.3 overs on the second day.

The poor drainage and coverage system at the stadium left the ground staff struggling to dry the muddy outfield in the brief spells when the downpours stopped.

wet outfield

When play began 30 minutes late due to a wet outfield, the tourists lost their last six wickets for 33 runs as Muralitharan and seamer Sujeewa De Silva ran through the lower order.

Muralitharan took his career tally to 694 wickets, leaving him just 14 away from equaling Australian Shane Warne's world record of 708 wickets.

The off-spinner, who still has unfinished business with Bangladesh in the second innings, hopes to overtake the retired Warne when Sri Lanka play two Tests in Australia in November.

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