Island Cricket

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A tribute to the Lion's Fans

From time to time i will feature a video, highlighting Lankan fan's at the cricket.

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Muttiah 'Murali' Muralitharan 9-65 Vs Eng Oval Test | 1998


Murali destroys the English batting line up.

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Australia, Lanka to vie for Warne-Murali trophy

In a move to honour two of the greatest spinners of modern era, Sri Lanka [Images] and Australia are all set to fight for the Warne-Murali trophy when they lock horns in a two-Test cricket series starting next week.

With 700 Test scalps under his belt, Muralitharan is now nine wickets shy of surpassing Warne (708) as the highest wicket taker in the longer version of the game, and the Lankan offie would be hoping to achieve the milestone at the leggie's home turf.

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Murali likely to be rested against Queensland

"If he [Murali] continues practice and all that, if he's happy with his rhythm we'll probably keep him out," Mahela Jayawardene told AFP. "So if Murali feels that he'll need another match before the Test match, we'll consider that, but if not, we'll probably keep him out."

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Kumar Sangakkara hamstring tear puts strain on tourists

SRI Lanka's first Test plans were thrown into chaos last night with star wicketkeeper-batsman Kumar Sangakkara virtually ruled out with a torn hamstring.

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Pace bowler Brett Lee is expecting Sri Lanka to provide a stern test for Australia's attack in the upcoming two-match series between the two countries, although he insists the Aussies are raring to go.

Despite Australia not having played a Test match in 10 months, Lee believes he and his fellow bowlers will be fit and firing when faced with the expected Sri Lankan batting onslaught in the two-Test series.

"We are ready for it, we're ready for November 8, we're ready for the first Test, get through these first (two) Tests and then we've got India," he said.

"I think they'll be coming full steam ahead definitely ... as far as the five-day cricket goes they'll be going out there from ball-one making sure they're actually going flat out."

The New South Wales bowler also welcomed the added responsibility of leading the bowling attack, saying he did not feel any extra pressure in the absence of retired stalwart Glenn McGrath.

"I've done it (led the attack) for about three years now with the one-day attack, so it's not going to be any different," he said.

"The fact now that we haven't got Glenn and also Shane Warne to rely on when days get tough - and I'm sure there will be some tough days over the next 12 to 18 months."

The 30-year-old may be on the comeback trail after suffering an ankle injury which ruled him out of Australia's triumphant 2007 World Cup campaign.

But, despite toiling without reward during NSW's recent draw with Queensland in the Pura Cup, he feels fit enough to challenge Sri Lanka's celebrated batting line-up and get some wickets.

"The thing that I took out of the game (against Queensland) is that I bowled 52 overs, it was pretty hot out there bowling the last four days (and) a pretty flat wicket," Lee explained.

"I was really pleased with the way I bowled even if I look up at the scoreboard and I don't see any wickets next to my name, I was really proud of the way I bowled out there and really pleased with my form.

"So going into the first Test the confidence is sky-high and I'm looking forward to it."

Lee also has every confidence that the new generation of Australian fast bowlers can fill the void left by the departed McGrath.

"We've got a fantastic squad of players - Stuart Clark, Mitchell Johnson, Nathan Bracken, Shaun Tait just to name a few.

"So it's going to be interesting what they (Australian selectors) go for in the first Test."

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Galle Stadium doubtful for 3rd Test Vs England

Sri Lanka Cricket accused of violating Antiquities Ordinances
Monday, October 29, 2007, 11:14 GMT, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Oct 29, Colombo: Sri Lanka Cricket is likely to change the venue of the third test match with England that was to begin on December 18 at Galle.

Sri Lanka Cricket officials are accused of violating the agreements signed for the development of picturesque Galle Cricket Esplanade and creating an extremely bad precedent in the process of preserving the historic Galle Dutch Fort, an archaeological heritage of the country.

The Chief of the Department of Archaeology Dr. Senarath Dissanayake said to media that immediate legal action would be initiated this week to obtain an injunction order against the unauthorized structures built at the Galle International Stadium.

He said by putting up illegal structures at the stadium has seriously violated the Antiquities Ordinance No.9 of 1940 and the Antiquities amendments Act. No. 27 of 1988.

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Jayawardene not worried about Hogg's form

Jayawardene said Hogg was probably one of the top ten spinners in the world but he was most dangerous in limited-overs games. "He's a decent spinner," Jayawardene said. "But how you play Hoggy in one-day cricket and how you play Hoggy in Test cricket is going to be totally different."

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[FLASHBACK] Kumar Sangakkara 54 Vs Australia | World Cup 2007 Final

Yet another classy ODI half century from Sri Lankan Wicket Keeper batsman Kumar Sangakkara. Widely considered to be the best Keeper/Batsman in both forms of international cricket. Mcgrath gets smashed for 3 consequtive boundaries including one six and two fours.

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Monday, October 29, 2007

Several players on sidelines

FITNESS, not form, looms as Sri Lanka's biggest worry as it prepares for the first Test in Brisbane, after Sanath Jayasuriya (virus) and Chanaka Welagedara (quad strain) joined Kumar Sangakkara (hamstring) on the sidelines.

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Murali starts tour strongly | Teases Aus media

"I'm not going to stop playing cricket at least for another 2-3 years. If I don't get those 9 wickets in Australia, I'll do it against England at home."
- Muralitharan speaking to Fox News

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46 Runs Off 13 Balls | Jehan Mubarak | World T20 Cricket 07

Jehan Mubarak, who hit five sixes and three fours to reach 46 from a dozen balls. One more boundary would have broken Mohammad Ashraful's record for the fastest half-century, but he missed the final delivery of the innings completely.

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Cricinfo - Sri Lanka call up Sujeewa de Silva

Sri Lanka will call up fast bowler Sujeewa de Silva as cover for the injured Chanaka Welegedera. Mahela Jayawardene, Sri Lanka's captain, said: "We are trying to fly out another quickie. If he [de Silva] arrives in time he will probably play in that [the warm-up game]. He's been playing some good cricket."

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Jayasuriya in his 400th ODI presents the Pitch Report

Sanath Jayasuriya took the field for the record 400th time during the second ODI against England today 10/04/07, increasing the lead over Indian maestro Sachin Tendulkar for the number of ODI appearances by three.

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'It was a good outing' - Jayawardene

The biggest plus was Muttiah Muralitharan who took four wickets. Jayawardene confirmed Murali was "100 per cent" and would be rested for the warm-up. Malinga Bandara will come in to replace him for the tour match in Queensland. "He bowled pretty well, I was very happy with that - all in all it was a good outing for us."

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[Video] Sri Lanka vs Chairmans XI Day 3 highlights

Sri Lankans 6 for 368 dec and 2 for 125 (Jayawardene 52, Samaraweera 41*) drew with Australia Chairman's XI 409 (Mash 95, Hughes 49, Plant 124, Heal 58)

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Sunday, October 28, 2007

I hope Australian fans respect Murali - Tom Moody

FORMER Sri Lankan coach Tom Moody hopes Muthiah Muralitharan will be respected for the "genius" that he is as the champion spinner braces for what could be another rugged tour of Australia.

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Murali record: Security tight in Aus

Cricket Australia have made unprecedented security arrangements in order to avoid a crowd backlash against Sri Lankan spinner Muthiah Muralitharan.

Muralitharan is in Sydney for his first full Australia Test tour in 12 years, as he bids to break local hero Shane Warne's Test wicket record.Murali met Cricket Australia's top security advisor, to discuss arrangements for his protection this summer.

A security plan has been devised specifically for him because of the long history of animosity between him and Australian crowds. Plain-clothes security officers will reportedly be stationed near sections of the crowd close to Murali's fielding positions. At the first sign of trouble, the officers will call for back-up and eject trouble-makers from the ground.

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Muthiah Muralidaran throws caution to the wind

BRUCE Yardley encountered an intense young man with a curious bowling action when conducting a spin bowlers' clinic in Sri Lanka 16 years ago.

Yardley watched him bowl a few balls and wondered whether he might be throwing.

He saw that the young man had a deformity in his right arm and suggested he should try to be more side-on in his delivery stride.
He then marvelled at how quickly his advice was adopted.

"I expected him to take six months to get side-on," the former Test off-spinner said.
"It took him three balls. It was just stunning.

"I came back to Australia and I said to people here, 'I have seen a kid who will turn the spin-bowling world upside down'."

The kid was Muthiah Muralidaran, and he did, indeed, turn the spin bowling world upside down.

He arrived in Australia last week for a two-Test series, needing nine wickets to supplant Shane Warne as the greatest wicket-taker in Test history.

From that first encounter with Yardley, who was later to become Sri Lanka's coach, Murali's career has been profoundly influenced by Australians -- not always to his benefit.

Within a year of meeting Yardley, Murali was in the Test side, making his debut in a drawn match against Allan Border's team in Colombo.

The first to fall to his baffling, wrist-snapping action in a Test was Craig McDermott.
His other victims in that game were genuine batsmen -- Mark Waugh and Tom Moody, who later became a trusted guide and confidant as Murali's national coach.

Murali has also been coached by John Dyson and Dav Whatmore, but it is fair to say that no Australian has changed his life more than Darrell Hair.

When Hair extended his arm and called "no-ball" at the MCG on Boxing Day 1995, the lives of both men changed forever.

There had always been whispers about Murali's action.
Hair turned the whispers into a shout -- literally.

Murali's action became the subject of international debate. He undertook biomechanical tests in Perth and Hong Kong, where the boffins cleared his action by saying it created the "optical illusion of throwing".

It served only to heighten the controversy. Then another Australian umpire, Ross Emerson, called him during a one-day game in Australia in 1999. More tests ensued, and Murali was again cleared.

Murali took his 500th Test wicket in a 2004 home series against Australia (who else?) when his action was queried by ICC match referee Chris Broad.

More tests followed. The new generation of super slow-motion cameras showed that virtually all bowlers flex their elbows at some stage during delivery.

There was no doubting Murali's elbow was bent; he couldn't straighten it if he tried.
But what became apparent was that every bowler's elbow was bent.

The ICC was given little option but to change the law to account for elbow flexion of up to 15 degrees.

As Yardley, one of his staunchest supporters, put it: "If they were going to target Murali, they had to target just about everyone else."

Things weren't helped when Prime Minister John Howard, who claimed to have bowled off-breaks in his younger days, labelled Murali a chucker.

It was a reason for Murali pulling out of the 2004 winter tour of Australia, and it took the trauma of the Boxing Day tsunami six months later -- in which Murali narrowly escaped with his life -- to change his thinking.

He came to play in benefit matches, in which Australians heckled him but also dug deep to support his beleaguered country.

Perhaps they had a heart after all.

While all this was happening, Murali was staging a private duel with Warne -- a good mate -- to see who could take the most Test wickets.

Warne finished his career in January this year with 708.

Murali touched down in Adelaide last week with 700.

Australian captain Ricky Ponting says Murali is a truly great bowler, but he is hell-bent on making sure Warne is still the record-holder when the Sri Lankans leave town.

"He is a world-class act, but it would be nice if he left Australia not getting those nine wickets in two Test matches," Ponting said. "If that's the case, we'll have done a pretty good job.

"He's also made it pretty clear over the years that he feels that Australian batsmen play him better than any other team in the world. Hopefully, we can keep him under wraps."

Murali's record against Australia is comparatively moderate -- 55 wickets in 11 Tests at an average of 31 (against an overall average of 21).

He's dismissed Ponting only once, caught and bowled for 96, and in two Tests for his country against Australia in this country his analysis reads 3-348.

Playing for the ICC World XI in the Super Test in Sydney in 2005 he did a little better, with 2-102 and 3-55.

Murali is prepared for the heckling he is bound to receive this summer, including the cries of "no-ball" when he starts his spells.

According to Moody, who coached him until earlier this year, he is coming to terms with how Australians react to him.

"He's hugely disappointed with the reaction of the Australian public," Moody said.
"That's a lot to do with the fact that Shane Warne's an Australian, because everywhere else in the world he doesn't get anything like the reaction he gets in Australia.

"It's quite sad really, but it is that way. I've tried to explain to Murali . . . that Australian cricket followers react that way because they fear and respect what (he's) bringing to the table.

"It's not a hatred by any means. It's more a sign of respect."

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Gillespie may sort out problems with Muralitharan

Colombo (PTI): Former Australian fast bowler Jason Gillespie, who is at the centre of controversy for questioning spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan's bowling action, may sort out his differences with the Sri Lankan.

Gillespie in his autobiography said that new laws allowing bowlers to bend their elbows up to 15 degrees had helped Muralitharan and Shoaib Akhtar.

Sri Lanka Cricket's Chief Executive Duleep Mendis said his Australian counterpart James Sutherland had responded to the Lankan protest by apologising on behalf of Gillespie and said they had spoken to the fast bowler about his untimely comments, the Sunday Times reported here on Sunday.

Meanwhile, SLC Secretary K Mathivanan the board was monitoring crowd behaviour towards the spinner in Australia.

Mathivanan said that in case the spectators abuse Muralitharan, tour manager Sriyan Samararatne would deal with the issue.

Australia has not been a happy hunting ground for Muralitharan since he was called for chucking by umpire Darrel Hair during the boxing-day Test in 1995. Thereafter, he was subjected to crowd abuse in a later tour.

The current tour could see the Lankan off-spinner overtaking Australian legend Shane Warne's all time record of 708 Test wickets as the Lankan needs only nine wickets to achieve the feat.

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[Audio] Sanath Jayasuriya after his 154 against the CA Chairman's XI

27 Oct, 2007 Sanath Jayasuriya after his 154 against the CA Chairman's XI(3.86MB, 4min 19s) Listen

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[Audio] Murali media conference in Australia

28 Oct, 2007 Murali media conference (part one) (4.81MB, 5 min 16s) Listen
28 Oct, 2007 Murali media conference (part two) (4.29MB, 5 min) Listen

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The Lions arrive

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Sri Lanka Win Hong Kong Sixes

England's participation in the Hong Kong Sixes came to an end at the knockout stages on Sunday as they were comprehensively outclassed by the All-Star team at Kowloon Cricket Club.

A win and a loss on Saturday had seen Mike Gatting's men finish second in the Bradman Group, setting up a clash with Shane Warne's prestige outfit.

After losing the toss and being put in to bat, England made 80 for two thanks mostly to Dimitri Mascarenhas' 31 retired as Warne's Hampshire colleague bludgeoned the All-Star attack.

Alex Gidman scored 15 and Darren Maddy also chipped in with 12 but it was all in vain as the All-Stars surpassed England's total for no loss with seven balls remaining, man of the tournament Craig McMillan retiring on 31 and Brian Lara smashing 35 off eight balls.

However, after cruising past Pakistan in the semi-final, McMillan's 33 retired was the foundation of a four-wicket win, the favourites came unstuck against Sri Lanka in the final.

Batting first after losing the toss, the Sri Lankans made 127 for the loss of three wickets, skipper Indika de Saram top-scoring with an unbeaten 40 while Kaushalya Weeraratne retired on 32 and Jeewantha Kulatunga made 28.

Warne suffered in particular, going for 30 runs as eight-ball overs were introduced for the final, and McMillan's first dismissal of the tournament when the New Zealander was caught on the boundary by Jeewantha first ball of the innings hampered their chase from the outset.

Geraint Jones made a valiant attempt to turn the match round late on, hitting his first three balls for six and the out-of-favour England wicketkeeper eventually finished with an unbeaten 36, while Lara retired on 34 and Heath Streak struck 29 but they fell 16 runs short.

"It was a great tournament," a delighted Jeewantha said.

"We stuck to our basics, that is what we always do, took it game by game and we put them under pressure.

"You need to keep calm and do your best. But it was a great honour to play against players like Shane Warne, Brian Lara and Glenn McGrath."

Warne admitted the All Stars had been beaten by a better side.

"All credit to Sri Lanka, they played extremely well and they deserved to win," he said.

"Craig McMillan getting out set us back a bit

"But it was a fantastic experience, they're a great bunch of players, we had a great time and we wanted to donate the prize money to the Hong Kong Cricket Club." +/- Expand Post

Warne Plays It Cool On Murali Feat

Shane Warne insists he is unconcerned at the prospect of Muttiah Muralitharan breaking his record for most Test wickets during Sri Lanka's upcoming tour of Australia.

The Australian leg-spin legend retired from the international scene at the end of last winter's Ashes triumph having claimed 708 Test victims, currently eight more than his Sri Lankan counterpart.

But Muralitharan has the opportunity to overhaul that mark during two Test matches in November, although the off-spinner has been a figure of controversy in Australia since being first being called for throwing by Darrel Hair during the Boxing Day Test in 1995, and has struggled with Sri Lanka Down Under where he has been the target of abuse from Aussie fans.

But Warne, rather than fret about losing his place in the history books, is just happy to have entertained a legion of cricket fans over the course of a career that has enthralled the watching public.

"Good luck to him," Warne said.

"It's been nice to hold the record for three or four years and hopefully the Aussie batsmen will make it a little bit hard for him.

"But it's more about the way you play the game, the spirit in which you play, and I'd like to think that I've entertained over the years.

"I'd like to leave a legacy that I've entertained everywhere I've played, I've never given up and I've been pretty competitive and hopefully people have enjoyed that.

"The records and that stuff, well, good luck to Murali, he could take it to a thousand wickets."

Warne was part of an All-Star team that finished as runners-up at the Hong Kong Sixes after losing out to Sri Lanka in the final.

And after playing in a side containing Brian Lara, Glenn McGrath, Craig McMillan, Heath Streak, Geraint Jones and Anil Kumble, the 38-year-old is hopeful six-a-side cricket could become more prevalent on the international circuit and allow the veterans to showcase their talents to newer audiences.

"I think it'd be really good if we could have an extra couple of weekends," he added.

"One weekend in Hong Kong is great but it would be good if you had another couple of weekends through the year in some other places, Dubai or those type of places, to help spread the word of cricket.

"To have all these teams involved or at least two or three weekends rather than one would be great."

For now, Warne faces the unfamiliar prospect of putting his feet up over the winter after captaining Hampshire to a relatively successful county season that included a Friends Provident Trophy final appearance.

"I'm very passionate about the game," he said.

"I've been involved in first-class cricket for 20 years but it's a bit of a strange feeling coming back to Australia and not playing for St Kilda or domestic cricket for Victoria and Australia.

"But the body enjoys it, the shoulder and back aren't sore and I'd help them out if needed."

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[Video] Khaleej Times Trophy | Mahela 84 Vs Pakistan 2001

Mahela plays yet another sublime knock agaisnt a formidable pakistani bowling line up, From the 2001 Khaleej Times trophy 2001.

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[Video] Awesome Catch | Kumar Sangakkara Vs England 10/13/07

Chaminda Vaas induces an edge from Phil Mustard; Kumar does the rest

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'I am mentally stronger than most' - Muralitharan

Muttiah Muralitharan's first Test tour with the Sri Lankan team to Australia in 12 years has so far been a tale of police escorts at the airport, security fears, plainsclothes people in the crowd ... and plenty of hype.

So as Muralitharan stepped up to bowl his first ball of the trip, it was unsurprising that he found rumours of the so-called bearpit ready to bait him in Adelaide had been greatly exaggerated. In their place was a placid Sunday crowd who were quiet as church mice, save for the children playing cricket on the hill. It was hardly fire and brimstone.
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[Video] The Mahela Jayawardena montage

Lanka's enigmatic skipper, Mahela. Find more Mahela at

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[Video] Sri Lanka vs Chairmans XI Day 2 highlights

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'We need to annoy the opposition' - Kumar Sangakkara

And then there's Murali. It means a lot to everyone in Sri Lanka that Murali is going to Australia and trying to break the record there. I think he treated the Australian spectators to a wonderful spell of bowling in the Super Series Test there in 2005. Murali knows his stats to the last detail and he'll know his two other Tests in Australia have produced only three wickets. He'll be devising plans and strategies to get wickets this time.

There's been a debate raging about the last-minute inclusion of Marvan Atapattu, but it's a tremendous boost for the team. He's one of the best players we've produced in Sri Lanka. Everyone speaks of him being technically correct and beautiful to watch, but he's also a tough character. Marvan and Sanath [Jayasuriya] are the only two of the current team to have scored hundreds in Australia, and their store of experience will be vital for all of us. When Marvan got a hundred in Cairns last time, we ended up playing around him and putting up 455.

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Fans don't win matches - Ian Chappell

At the Premadasa stadium in Colombo the band plays long and loud and the fans dance continuously, so they have little time to think up hurtful slurs; and if someone in the crowd did call out, the players wouldn't hear them anyway.

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Australia Chairman's XI v Sri Lankans, Day 2

Australia Chairman's XI 4 for 262 (Mash 95, Hughes 49, Plant 63*, Ronchi 0*) trail Sri Lankans 6 for 368 dec (Jayasuriya 154, Atapattu 56, Vandort 55, Samaraweera 71) by 106 runs. Scorecard

Lloyd Mash made a stylish 95 to lead a strong reply for the Chairman's XI on the second day in Adelaide. Mash dodged the showers, the bouncers and two missed catches and then Tom Plant chipped in with an unbeaten 63 to leave the home side on 4 for 262 at stumps.

The Sri Lankans may have rested their two premier fast bowlers, Chaminda Vaas and Lasith Malinga, but the left-hander Mash still played with a composure and forthrightness that provided a useful test of their attack. Doug Bollinger also gave their batsmen a good working over, removing both Jehan Mubarak and Thilan Samaraweera to prompt the declaration midway through the morning.

Mash played cleanly, driving crisply on a benign surface to take the attack to the tourists, but Dilhara Fernando, who bowled well throughout and was the pick, could have had him on 17. Mahela Jayawardene, though, put down the simple chance at second slip.

Mash then came down the track to Muttiah Muralitharan on 47, and flicked to short leg who missed the low catch. Mash made his ground quickly as the ball came to Prasanna Jayawardene, covering well behind the stumps for the injured Kumar Sangakkara.

Sangakkara is unlikely to play the next tour match after straining his left hamstring while batting yesterday, although his coach Trevor Bayliss said he should make the first Test, which starts on November 8 in Brisbane. "It's not the greatest, very stiff at the moment. They're keeping a close eye on him and they will probably send him for scans. He wanted to keep batting the other day but we had to call him off."

Chanaka Welegedara limps off the field

Chanaka Welegedara, Sri Lanka's left-arm fast bowler, also caused the management further concern by limping off with a strain to his right leg, while Plant later smashed a pull into Mubarak's leg. Mubarak, though, carried on fielding.

Mash finally succumbed to Fernando, who struck immediately upon his reintroduction into the attack in the 49th over, caught behind at the second attempt by Prasanna Jayawardene, who proved a worthy deputy with three catches behind the stumps. Fernando then picked up Callum Ferguson in his next over, trapping him for 5.

Plant picked up the reins from Mash, but had to battle hard for his runs. He was dropped on 40 at second slip, preventing Maharoof from getting his first wicket. His endeavours were rewarded with a half-century ground out from 168 balls, and he shared a fourth-wicket stand of 90 with 18-year-old Philip Hughes.

Hughes was heading for his own half-century before getting stumped in Muralitharan's last over of the day. The left-hander had batted with authority and wasn't shy of getting after Muralitharan, but in the end paid the price.

Muralitharan found some encouraging turn from the off, but picked up just the one wicket in his 30 overs despite causing problems and forcing the batsmen to play watchfully. Despite the huge talk in the build-up to this tour about crowd trouble, he had little to worry about here at the Oval: there were hardly any spectators. Indeed, the biggest threat came from the rain which caused three stoppages in the middle session, while the fielders struggled on a cold, windy day and spilled several catches.

Yet overall, it was a day of hard graft for the bowlers who picked up only one wicket in the afternoon: Greg Moller (33) edging a difficult catch to Prasanna Jayawardene off Welegedara, but not before he had put on 79 with Mash.

The Sri Lankan batsmen also struggled at times in the morning, thanks to Bollinger. With the pitch having quickened overnight, he favoured the short stuff and his two wickets were well deserved.

Thilan Samaraweera on his way to 71, Cricket Australia Chairman's XI v Sri Lankans, Adelaide, 2nd day, October 28, 2007

Mubarak fell early on 7, gloving a short one to gully where Plant took a good catch, tumbling forward, while Samaraweera skewed a thick edge to backward point, driving at a wide one. It was an unfortunate end to a good innings of 71 and, as the last recognised batsman, his fall signalled the declaration.

Bollinger, who has been bowling well in state games but missed out for New South Wales to make room for Brett Lee, has so far taken his chance here to impress - although he continued to struggle with no-balls.

© Cricinfo
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In a country Murali bashing is a sport

It is a well known fact that it is only the hard at heart who can go to Australia for a cricket series and survive to fight another day. The slightest hint of a team/player or both posing a threat to their supremacy will set off a rankling which will have many repercussions on and off the field – some times even the authorities find it hard to douse. That’s cricket in Australia and the Sri Lankans at present are there to play a two Test series which is more interesting academic wise than the end result of the matches itself.

The Australians are back on their own soil though winning the Indian ODIs convincingly are smarting with the racial barracking they got from the Indian crowds – something that they savoured for the first time. One of the most senior International Cricket Umpires in Sri Lanka—Asoka de Silva once came up with an interesting anecdote about the cat calls and racial abuses in India. It went like this “I was standing with Englishman David Shepard in a match that involved India and the West Indies about 4-5 years ago in Mumbai. That time also they targeted only one player. It was the best West Indian fast bowler at that time -- Mervyn Dillon whom they targeted. There were cat calls, honking like monkeys and at times they just came out in raw filth

“But, at that time there were no ICC indicators on crowd behaviour nor, were there any official complaints from the West Indian cricket management. So the Incident was just swept under the carpet. “Nevertheless there was one thing that was very significant. There was this dinner that followed the match. There umpire David Shepard was invited to speak. During his speech Shepard took up this incident and said that he would like to see an end to this sort of crowd behaviour at cricket matches before it scales down to the levels of soccer hooliganism”. A very significant but, untold part of cricket history.

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Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Fernando Special | Dilhara Fernando 6-27 Vs Eng 10/13/07

Dilhara Fernando destroys the English batting order.

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Malinga: 3 Reverse Swinging Yorkers

Lasith 'the Slinga' Malinga fires in three quick reverse swinging yorkers at the end of England's innings in the 5th and final ODI against Sri Lanka 2006.

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Sri Lanka is no mad aunt

Can someone tell me why the world's third-ranked team is being treated like a mad aunt with spasmodic public outings?

Is the current Sri Lankan team paying for the fact many of us thought Arjuna Ranatunga was a porky plonker? Or has Muttiah Muralitharan scared one kid too many with those scary eyes when releasing the ball?

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Flashback | Avishka Gunewardena in action

From the 2001/02 season Khaleej Times Trophy, Sharjah.

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Behind enemy lines

The Wisden Cricketer - November 2007

Behind enemy lines

October 28, 2007

The Australian public love to hate Muttiah Muralitharan. Malcolm Knox examines why as the spinner aims to break Warne's Test wickets record in front of them.

Among the many unspoken codes of ethics that make international cricket so fascinating, none is more powerful than the omerta of criticism. If you have nothing nice to say about your opponent, keep it on the field or keep it to yourself.

Adam Gilchrist unleashed a firestorm when he broke that omerta in May 2002. It was only a momentary slip, at a "sportsmen's lunch" organised by the Carlton Australian Rules Football Club. Gilchrist was the guest speaker. The president of the club was John Elliott, an Australian businessman and one-time prime ministerial aspirant who was subject to multiple court actions that would rob him of his fortune. In his home city of Melbourne, Elliott was a figure of constant public attention. Gilchrist, though not from Melbourne, recalls: "I should have known better."

As is the norm at these functions, the floor was opened to questions about anything and everything and he was asked about the bowling action of Muttiah Muralitharan. "Technically, if you read the rules, I think he's not quite within them," Gilchrist said, before voicing his concerns about how young subcontinental bowlers were imitating, or improvising, not quite legal actions.

The comments seemed innocuous at the time but a journalist was in the room and the story got out: "Murali is a chucker, says Gilchrist". Cricket Australia, Gilchrist's employer, reprimanded him for "making comments detrimental to the game". Gilchrist, seething at what he saw as a betrayal of privacy by the journalist and disloyalty from Cricket Australia, contacted Murali and apologised. For what? Not for having an opinion, surely, but for getting caught in possession of one. It was acceptable to believe Murali's bent arm was bending the rules but unacceptable to humiliate him publicly. Murali accepted the apology.

The Australian public has never tied itself in such knots. There are many Australians who believe Murali's action is and always has been within the rules. There are many who believe that the ICC's adaptation of the rule to allow a degree of straightening - the "15 degrees of Murali" - is a fair and pragmatic solution that allows a great bowler to stay in the game. But there is also a direct synchrony between the private mutterings in the Australian team dressing room and the noisy chant of the crudest patriots on the Sydney Hill and Melbourne's Bay 13. And that chant goes: "No ball!" They follow Murali around the world. In Barbados, in the 2007 World Cup final, an Australian contingent in the crowd repeatedly chanted "No ball!" when Murali delivered.

Australian umpires have given official expression to this public clamour. In 1995-96 Darrell Hair no-balled Murali in a Test at Melbourne. Ross Emerson and Tony McQuillan, both Australian, did the same in one-day matches. In 1998-99 Emerson no-balled him in a one-day match at the Adelaide Oval, sparking a walk-off led by Arjuna Ranatunga and an extraordinary legal challenge to the jurisdiction of the ICC's match referee. Ranatunga got away with it, beating the rap, but in doing so he embedded the hostility between sections of the Australian public and the Sri Lankan cricketers. (And Emerson never umpired again.)

Murali, one of the humblest and least confrontational men in cricket, has not relished Australian tours. In fact, on occasion he has declined to tour Australia and stated that he would like never to go there again. But this year he is coming for a two-Test series and in a delicious coincidence he may take the nine wickets he needs to pass Shane Warne's world record of 708.

Where does this antagonism come from? Dr Siri Kannangara, a distinguished rheumatologist who migrated from Sri Lanka to Australia in 1977 and has since maintained a consultative medical role with the Sri Lankan team, says "Australian fear" has led to the point where "instead of how it used to be, anyone but New Zealand or anyone but England, now it's anyone but Sri Lanka".

Yet Kannangara, who with coach Dav Whatmore and physio Alex Kountouris has bridged the divide, with connections in both camps, also points out how much the nations have in common. "When Sri Lanka was applying for membership of the ICC, Australia was its strongest ally. Sri Lankans are grateful for that. When Australia play England, Sri Lankans always barrack for Australia. They see Australians as a fellow sporting nation and a fellow ex-colony."

As in many fraternal relationships, though, the big brother supported the little brother only until he posed a threat. In the 1980s Sri Lanka toured Australia and dutifully took their defeats while celebrating raucously at their rare victories. This changed under the captaincy of Ranatunga in 1995-96. "The Aussies saw Arjuna as a threat," recalls Kannangara, "because he said he could handle these buggers and give them back what they'd been dishing out."

That spiteful tour resulted in open hostilities between the teams, a refusal to shake hands after the Australian one-day series, and Sri Lanka getting the last laugh in the 1996 World Cup final at Lahore. Australian players and supporters alike treated them scornfully, as the upstarts who had gone way too far. Sri Lankans, in turn, loved rubbing it in. I covered Australia's 1996 tour of Sri Lanka, their first match-up after the World Cup, and was surprised not so much by how cocky the Sri Lankan players and supporters were as by how rattled the Australians were.

Many have never understood the Sri Lankans, just as they have never quite understood Murali. In 1995-96, before the Test series, Sri Lanka were playing Queensland in Cairns. Allan Border, in his final season but still as fine a player of spin as ever picked up a bat, could not fathom Murali. Befuddled, he said to his batting partner: "This bloke, he's bowling leggies, right?"

At first Australians called Murali the "rubberband man" but the nicknames soon turned nasty. Coinciding with Ranatunga's raising the on-field temperature and Sri Lanka's new competitiveness was the realisation that Murali was a world-class spin bowler and Warne's only challenger as the greatest of all time.

Since that poisonous summer there has been only one Sri Lankan Test tour of Australia, a two-Test winter one to the north in 2004. It is an insult to a cricketing nation of Sri Lanka's quality, and a burning sore between the countries, that there has been so little Test cricket on Australian soil since 1995-96. "There has been this constant needling," says Kannangara, friend and physician to several current and past Sri Lankan players. "The Sri Lankans have felt they weren't welcome here."

But not all Australians feel this way. Warne polarises Australian supporters far more than Murali ever did and sometimes sympathy with Murali is a way of expressing displeasure with the local boy. Kannangara has noticed there is a generational divide. "Younger Australian fans get jealous and angry about Murali's success," he observes, "but older fans very often don't like Warne at all and they cheer for Murali."

When Murali's action was being examined, it was Australian university biomechanical experts in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth who provided the strongest evidence that his arm was not straightening in delivery.

And for every Australian fan yelling "No ball!" there are another 10 or 20 who are watching silently and even perhaps cheering Murali on. Rarely does a group of cricket fans speak with one voice. In relation to Murali the Australian voices are richly divergent.

Yet so protective of Warne's record are the players and the true believers that it is hard to dispute Kannangara's prediction that, if Murali breaks the world mark, "it won't go down well".

"But remember, Murali may not make it this tour," he adds, almost hopefully. "He's a shy man and he doesn't like being booed. He might not be at his best. He might not take the nine wickets. In two Tests that is still quite a lot, even for Murali."

Malcolm Knox is a former chief cricket correspondent and literary editor of the Sydney Morning Herald and the author of six books

© The Wisden Cricketer +/- Expand Post

Australia Chairman's XI v Sri Lankans, 1st day

Kumar Sangakkara gets treatment for a strained hamstring

Sanath Jayasuriya on his way to a run-a-ball 154, Cricket Australia Chairman's XI v Sri Lankans, Adelaide, 1st day, October 27, 2007

Make no mistake, Australia: the Sri Lankans are on a mission. They've promised aggression all week as they aim for their first Test win on Australian soil, and Sanath Jayasuriya duly delivered on Saturday with an authoritative century in the first warm-up match in Adelaide.
He may not have had the strongest opposition - the Chairman's XI a hotchpotch of players who missed out on state selection - and this may not count in his first-class statistics, but it was a statement of intent and rewarded the thousand spectators who braved the wind and the rain in between some warm weather.

Speaking of statements, Marvan Atapattu proved a point to the selectors with a half-century during his first match for Sri Lanka since February following his ongoing issues with the selectors. He wasn't at his fluent best, but Jayasuriya's freedom gave him room to feel his way back into some kind of form, with 56. Together they put on a forthright 195 to give their side a sturdy platform.

Jayasuriya feasted mainly on legspinner Cullen Bailey. The pace trio of Doug Bollinger, Paul Rofe and Mick Lewis threatened in parts early on, causing the odd awkward moment for both openers. But Jayasuriya soon settled down, purring smoothly through the gears while he waited for the introduction of spin. On came Bailey and off went three successive sixes into the stands in his second over.

The first, a pull off a short one, was juggled over the line by Aaron Heal. He pulled the second, too, this one more authoritative. The third was his biggest strike, a sweetly swept six into the stands to bring up his fifty from 51 balls and the hundred partnership.
Jayasuriya had hit cruise control and, as Bailey struggled to land the ball, the batsman helped himself. At one point he had hit 36 runs off ten Bailey balls. All eyes had been on Atapattu and his long-awaited comeback but while he eased to his half-century, Jayasuriya soon took the attention.

Atapattu's fifty, while not his most fluent, could give Upul Tharanga an early warning that his opening spot could be in jeopardy. Tharanga has made one fifty in his last 16 innings. Atapattu struggled early on, fending several edges through the slips, but soon found his niche, playing patiently for his fifty, which came from 140 balls and took nearly three hours. Lewis offered the strongest threat of all the pace bowlers, pursuing the tightest lines, and he should have had Michael Vandort for a duck, but for Bollinger's drop at square leg.
Vandort went to make a half-century, and was joined in his efforts by Thilan Samaraweera, who made a fifty of his own. Bollinger finally broke their 95-run stand when Vandort poked to gully on 55.

But it was the spin of Heal which proved the most effective, eventually removing both openers, and later the captain. Atapattu fell skewing a cover drive to Philip Hughes, and Jayasuriya followed soon after, caught at mid-off by Greg Moller.
Kumar Sangakkara gave them something to worry about when he retired hurt on 1 with a left hamstring strain but his injury is not thought to be serious and he later confirmed to Cricinfo that he was not in too much pain. He is to have further treatment and Prasanna Jayawardene could come in to take the gloves.

The Sri Lankans may have been playing the shortened forms of the game for months on end now - they have not played a Test since July - but even though Jayasuriya nearly reached his century before lunch there was nothing impetuous about his innings.
He and Atapattu merely waited for the loose balls and were content to ease themselves into the game as they put on 141 in the first session. A further 100 was added in the afternoon, with Vandort and Samaraweera taking up the baton later on, all of which rewarded Mahela Jayawardene's inevitable decision to bat. Jayawardene himself made a duck, a tame pop-up back to Heal.

Bad light forced the players off the pitch for 20 minutes before the lights were switched on for the final exchanges. Rain finally finished the day, and is tipped to have a big say on Sunday, with heavy showers forecast. But there was much for the tourists to smile about among the gloom.
Jenny Thompson is an associate editor at Cricinfo
© Cricinfo

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Friday, October 26, 2007

Armed and dangerous

Muttiah Muralitharan should put his bowling action to the test in front of his chief critics, writes Peter Roebuck.

Far from smoking the peace pipe with Australian crowds, Muttiah Muralitharan ought to go on the offensive. Already he has taken one positive step by ignoring the warnings of Arjuna Ranatunga, one of the most provocative voices in the game. Ranatunga advised Murali to stay at home as locals were bound to be make his life a misery. Thankfully, the spinner has not listened to this gloomy prediction. Evidently, he is made of sterner stuff. Happily, he has shown faith in antipodean hospitality by accepting the invitation to join his comrades on their expedition Down Under. Now it is up to Australian crowds to respond to his act of faith by putting out the welcome mat.

But Murali can go further in advancing his cause. Sometimes it is not enough to be polite. After all, he is visiting the country where he has suffered his worst experiences, the country where his action has been condemned on the field, the land where his most outspoken critics can be found. Moreover, he has not played Test cricket hereabouts for 12 years and is a few wickets shy of replacing the local champion at the top of the rankings. He is entitled to feel as relaxed as a lobster at lunchtime.

Murali ought to try to convince his audience of the legitimacy of his case. Most particularly he should repeat the test he took a few years ago in England, a test designed to force sceptics to review their opinion. Apart from anything else, many Australians are unaware that his action has ever been subjected to dispassionate and public scrutiny. They do not know that he voluntarily subjected himself to the cricketing equivalent of a lie detector test.

Murali took his test in England. Convinced of the legitimacy of his action but aware that it looked dubious to the naked eye, he said he was willing to undertake any relevant and objective experiment that might help to prove he bowled within the laws of the game. Specifically, he was prepared to put his elbow in a brace so that it could not straighten unduly at delivery. He knew it was not enough to satisfy scientists behind closed doors. He realised he needed to convince punters in the stands and the game, in whose record books his name took a prominent position.
From the outset, it was a remarkable gesture from a man with everything to lose and nothing much to gain. It was also an astonishing risk taken by a bowler with hundreds of Test wickets to his name. And it was an almost unprecedented challenge from a sportsman who had been on the defensive throughout a long and productive career. Above all, it was an act of supreme self-confidence.

Doubtless it helped that Murali knew and trusted those presiding over his trial. Coverage of Test cricket in England had fallen into the hands of a bunch of open-minded and capable young men working for Channel 4, among them Mark Nicholas and Michael Slater. As it happened, Nicholas and Slater were asked to take charge of a test conducted live and shown during the lunch interval. As far as Australians are concerned, it was a fortunate choice because both have subsequently joined the local commentary team.
Murali's test was simple. First his right arm was put into a cast that prevented movement. Afterwards Nicholas tried the cast himself and was struck by its rigidity. Next, Murali was required to send down his full range of deliveries. A pitch had been prepared and Slater had put on his pads. Meanwhile, the cameras rolled and the smooth Englishman stood at the bowler's end. First, Murali sent down his off-break. Then he aired his top-spinner. Finally, he delivered his doosra, the ball that has created the most consternation, though at worst it is a back chuck and therefore not to be taken seriously by any boy armed with a pebble. In between, Murali described the different techniques used to unleash these spinners.

Probably the most significant point about the test was the reaction of the examiners. Both Nicholas and Slater appeared impressed that Murali could bowl these balls with a brace on his arm. Opinions seemed to be swayed especially by the sight of the doosra turning towards slip.
At the time, Nicholas wrote in London's Daily Telegraph: "He bowled three balls - the off-spinner, the top-spinner and the doosra - as he would in a match and was filmed by four cameras at varying amounts of frames per second and from various angles. On each occasion, a kink, jerk or quirk was evident in his action that seemed to come from the straightening of a bent elbow. Then he bowled the same three balls with a brace that is made from steel bars, which are set into strong resin. This brace has been moulded to his right arm, is approximately 46 centimetres long and weighs just under one kilogram.

"There is no way an arm can be bent, or flexed, when it is in this brace. I am sure of this because I tried. All three balls reacted in the same way as when bowled without the brace. They were not bowled quite so fast because the weight of the brace restricts the speed of Murali's shoulder rotation, but the spin was still there. Murali has a quick arm, as quick as most fast bowlers. This, along with his strong wrist, imparts dramatic energy on the ball.

"With the brace on, there still appeared to be a jerk in his action. When studying the film at varying speeds, it still appeared as if he straightened his arm, even though the brace makes it impossible to do so. His unique shoulder rotation and amazing wrist action seem to create the illusion that he straightens his arm."
Of course, the test was far from perfect. Critics pointed out that Murali bowled slower than usual and did not turn the ball as sharply. They added that the issue was not whether he could bowl fairly but whether he did in matches.

Supporters pointed out that he had just returned from injury and had a cast on his arm that was bound to slow him down. They added that the Tamil's willingness to undertake such a public examination was also significant.

Whatever view is taken of the test, it was an eye-opener and needs to be aired or else repeated in Australia. Plenty of people remain unconvinced that the Sri Lankan has ever bowled a ball. Some Australians resent his place in the books. No less certainly, Nicholas and Slater must convey their recollections and reflections.

But Murali can also take the initiative by inviting other bowlers to try their luck in the same circumstances. In most cases, a sportsman is innocent until proven otherwise but for some reason it's different with throwing. Accordingly, it is Murali's fate to be constantly challenged. He has met the challenge once and can do so again. And then, finally, he might be given the respect he yearns and in so many ways deserves.
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Don't get bent out of shape when Murali does a Warney

WHEN Muttiah Muralitharan began playing Test cricket, Sri Lanka were only just shrugging off their status as the game's minnows. Now they are worthy opponents, World Cup winners, and soon they'll have the world's leading Test wicket-taker. Maybe forever.

Yet in many people's minds, Murali will always have an asterisk next to his name at the top of the wickets column in the Test record books.

As the great Sri Lankan off spinner next week embarks on the series in which he will likely overhaul Shane Warne as Test cricket's leading wicket-taker, many will again call into question his bowling action. Just like they questioned the worthiness of the drug-banned Shane Warne when he reached 600 wickets, and then 700. Not.

Some genius in the crowd will call "no ball", just as umpire Darrell Hair did in 1996, when Murali bowls.

But if Muralitharan's efforts are not valid, neither are Warne's. That Australians are so desperate to dismiss another because their man is being usurped is embarrassing.

Warne isn't being usurped. Brian Lara has scored more Test runs than anyone else (until Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting catch him, anyway). It doesn't make him a better batsman than Don Bradman. It just means he had more opportunities to score more runs. And he took them.

Now to the real minnows. Murali has taken 76 wickets against Bangladesh. They're still wickets. I mean, Warne took a heap against England - 195 of them. And 11 against Bangladesh. Just the same, those who believe Warne to be the greatest bowler ever shouldn't feel that status is being taken away by Muralitharan becoming more prolific. If Warne hadn't spent a year out of the game on a drugs ban, his record of 708 wickets, which Muralitharan will pass, would be much higher.

Yes, yes, the ICC bent the rules to allow Muralitharan to continue playing. It now allows the bowling arm to be straightened by 15 degrees before an action is considered illegal. Muralitharan has been measured to straighten his arm by 14 degrees.

If that's a let-off, so is this: the Australian Cricket Board suspended Warne for only half the time it could have when he admitted to taking a masking agent after failing a drugs test. For the record, Murali has 700 wickets at 21.33. Warne retired with 708 wickets at 25.41.

Warne's gift was noticed at a relatively young age, and he has been the beneficiary of as much coaching and cricketing education as he could ever possibly need. Terry Jenner was always at the ready to help him.

Muralitharan is from Kandy, the son of a confectioner. He made his Test debut in 1992 against an Australian side containing, no less, Allan Border, Dean Jones, Mark Taylor and Mark Waugh, the last of whom he dismissed for a duck in the second innings. That was his cricketing education.

Only last week, Sri Lanka's new coach, Trevor Bayliss, told the Herald: "I have a new-found respect for the blokes over here, with the facilities they have to work with. Australians really don't know how good they've got it. But our guys get on the job with no complaints and, as we've all seen over the years, have done a tremendous job despite the massive challenges they face."

Warne and Murali have taken more wickets than they might ever have imagined. And while Tendulkar and Ponting might be closing in on Lara's record, it's hard to see anyone overtaking the great bowlers. When Lara last batted in Australia he was feted at every ground, with a standing ovation as he walked on and off. You would expect Tendulkar, and perhaps Sri Lanka's veteran batsman Sanath Jayasuriya, to be afforded the same generosity this summer.

When Murali takes his 709th wicket, can we admire the bloke for having the tenacity and longevity to exceed the great Warne, instead of demeaning him because of his elbow? Just this once?

The Sydney Morning Herald +/- Expand Post

Cricket-Sri Lanka ready for short-pitched attack - Jayasuriya

BRISBANE, Australia, Oct 26 (Reuters) - Veteran Sri Lanka batsman Sanath Jayasuriya has told his younger team mates to ignore threats of a short-pitched barrage from Australia's pace attack during next month's two-test series.
"Whenever we come to Australia these are the sort of things we hear, so we just have to ignore them and do whatever we practice in the middle," he told reporters on Friday.
"If the short ball is there to hit, we play positive cricket."

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[Video] Sri Lanka Vs. New Zealand 4th National Bank ODI 2006

REWIND: This was the Lankans last visit to the southern hemisphere.

New Zealand v Sri Lanka, 4th ODI, Auckland
January 6, 2007

Sri Lanka's pace bowlers, galvanised by a supremely skilful spell of left-arm swing bowling from Chaminda Vaas, overpowered New Zealand to level the series 2-2 with one game to play. Set a challenging 263-run target, New Zealand collapsed in spectacular fashion and were bowled out for an abysmal 73 in 26.3 overs, their second lowest ODI score, to record their heaviest ever defeat.

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John Buchanan believes the Aussies will batter Sri Lanka into submission

Lee primed to lead bodyline

The Australian bowling attack might be undergoing a facelift, but former national coach John Buchanan believes it will batter Sri Lanka into submission in the first Test on the bouncy Gabba wicket.

Speaking in Sydney yesterday for the launch of Ricky Ponting's tour diary, Buchanan nominated Brett Lee to lead the assault in the absence of Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne this summer.

"Brett will be your impact bowler. Brett's your wicket-taking bowler. He will be the go-to bowler if and when wickets are required," Buchanan said.

"Sri Lanka and India are two countries that won't enjoy facing Brett Lee, who looks like he is totally prepared for the summer."

With Queenslander Mitchell Johnson and South Australian Shaun Tait in line to join Lee and Stuart Clark in the 12 for Brisbane, Buchanan believes the Australian game plan will be no secret.

"Sri Lanka has consistently found it difficult to play the ball above their waist and that's where Australia will expose them," Buchanan said.

"I think they've got some real question marks over their side and how they will actually handle pace and bounce."

Buchanan nominated Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene and vice-captain Kumar Sangakkara as the only two players who might cope with short-pitched bowling.

He said even veteran opener Sanath Jayasuriya could struggle at the Gabba.

Buchanan said things might not get any easier for the tourists for the second Test in Tasmania at Bellerive Oval.

"Sangakkara is obviously a good player who hooks and cuts well, Jayawardene is a bit the same, Jayasuriya can have his moments," Buchanan said.

"But in saying that, he's (Jayasuriya) a bit of an old warhorse now and I think good quick bowling and good short bowling has always unsettled him.

"Then you go to Bellerive and they have produced some really good quality wickets over the last couple of years, so I'm not sure there will be any hiding down there either."

While Sri Lanka might have been the second-best performed Test side over the past two years, Sangakkara knows the challenge awaiting the batsmen on the bouncy Australian wickets.

"Mate, we haven't come here with any doubt that it's going to be a tough series," he said.

"We know what to expect. We've come here with no illusions. We're going to work hard to prepare for anything that comes our way."

While Buchanan was declaring a short-pitched battle, Lee played down talk of a bouncer barrage.

"We have to make sure firstly the conditions are viable to do that," Lee said. "And the thing is even though they're different styles of play, you still have to bowl the right line and length."

Buchanan, though, said it was time for Lee to take the step up as the most experienced paceman in the team. Lee has played 59 Tests, with Clark (9), Tait (2) and Johnson (0) a long way behind.

"I see that Glenn McGrath has told him (Lee) it's his turn to step up to the plate, to be the lead bowler," he said. "I'm sure that Brett would really enjoy that role. He certainly has the experience.

"And as Ricky has alluded to, without McGrath and Warne he's going to have to look at ways and means of utilising his attack slightly differently, of which Brett will be a key part.

Lee said he was happy to assume more responsibility but didn't believe he was under any more pressure.

"It's great to have that role as a strike bowler, but I'm not going to change my game in any way, shape or form to try and adapt to that," Lee said.

Buchanan said Sri Lanka and India would not be anticipating victory in Australia but acknowledged they would be a little more confident knowing they no longer have to contend with Warne and McGrath.

"I think any team that comes to Australia is always very concerned about having to tour here," Buchanan said.

"There are conditions that most teams are not comfortable with, generally the ball bounces a bit more or has a little bit more pace, and then it turns and it turns with bounce.

"But it's a huge boost when you compete against Australia and you don't have to face two of the greats of the game."

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Ponting warns bats about pacemen

SRI Lankan fast bowler Chaminda Vaas has taken more Test wickets than Australia's combined pace attack.

Australian captain Ricky Ponting has warned his teammates not to become "Murali-centric" for fear of underestimating Sri Lanka's potent quick men.
The Australians are confident they still have the arsenal to dislodge any batting line-up, but the Sri Lankans will boast a more experienced attack this summer now Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath have retired.

Mutthiah Muralitharan needs only nine wickets to become the greatest Test wicket-taker of all time, and his figures shadow those of spinning counterpart Stuart MacGill.

The fiery leg-spinner will step up his preparations in NSW's Pura Cup clash against Queensland at the SCG, beginning today, after confirming yesterday he had recovered from a knee injury.

Sri Lanka will also possess a far better credentialled pace line-up, with veteran spearhead Vaas having more wickets (319) than the combined haul of Australia's expected speed blitz of Brett Lee (231), Stuart Clark (47) and the uncapped Mitchell Johnson.

If round-arm slinger Lasith Malinga (83) and the strongly built Dilhara Fernando (77) team with left-armer Vaas and Muralitharan, the tourists will have a considerable advantage in experience of 153 Tests and 703 wickets.

Ponting believes the tall Fernando, who can notch speeds of more than 145km/h, will be a danger on Brisbane and Hobart wickets which should suit his pace and bounce.

"I watched a fair bit of the one-day series they played against England in Sri Lanka (last month) and he looks like he is in good form at the moment," Ponting said yesterday at the launch of his latest tour diary.

"He looks like he has got his confidence up. He is one of those guys who might struggle for his rhythm and bowl a lot of no-balls and that sort of thing. But it looks as if he has sorted a lot of that out."

Australian batsman Mike Hussey also regards Fernando, who is expected to be used at first change, as one of the game's big improvers.

"I think he is one of the most improved bowlers in the world," Hussey said.

"He is a big, strong guy, runs in all day and is very disciplined. He is going to be a real handful.

"They have great variety in somebody like Malinga who gives that X-factor, much like Shaun Tait.

"Obviously they have the experience of Vaas and then you have Murali.

"They have a brilliantly rounded attack and lots of variety and it's going to provide a huge challenge for our batting." Muralitharan captured 28 wickets when the sides last met in a Test series – in Sri Lanka three years ago.

Although his figures were ultimately impressive, he struggled to dislodge Australia's top order and the tourists completed a 3-0 series rout.

If the world champions can handle Sri Lanka's speedsters, it will put more pressure on Muralitharan and go a long way to blunting the spin wizard who preys on tailenders.

"We'll do our best to play him as well as we can," Ponting said.

"We actually have played him well in the past. He has come out and said he feels Australian batsmen play him better than any other.

"That's a good wrap for us but that doesn't mean he won't have a good series here." +/- Expand Post

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Lankans Arrive in Aus, 1st Test Buildup

Whilst the Australian's insist there will be no 'special security' for Murali. The clip above clearly shows the armed escort by Murali's side.

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World Record Twenty20 Total | 260-6 | Sri Lanka 2007

Sri Lanka now hold the highest scores in all three forms of international cricket, adding the Twenty20 peak to their Test and one-day records.

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[Video] Sanath Jayasuriya | The King of the Big Hits

He holds the world's second highest ODI score, a blazing 189 runs against India. India lost the match by a landslide, 245 runs, which as of February 2007, is the second highest margin of defeat by runs in a One-Day International match. As of February 2007 he held the four highest individual scores by a Sri Lankan, and seven of the top nine.

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What's the Story behind the new T20 kit Mahela?

Mahela's take on the new outfit.

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Farveez Maharoof 4-31 Vs Eng | 10/01/07 | Dambulla

With the ball beginning to move around off the seam Ian Bell - despite his recent prolific form - couldn't do much about the pearler which nipped away and took his outside edge. Maharoof's evening continued to bring riches and he removed Kevin Pietersen with a thin inside edge.

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[Video] Chamara Silva 73 Vs England | 5th ODI 2007

Silva produces yet another fighting knock, which later proved to be crucial towards Lanka's win against the poms.

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Cricinfo - Fernando relishing Australian challenge

Sri Lankan pace bowlers will give the Australian batsmen "something special" in the two-Test series this November. The side's pace attack, traditionally a weakness, is at its strongest ever and Fernando believes Sri Lanka have their best chance yet to win a Test in Australia.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Chamara Silva 152 2nd Test Vs NZ 2006

Silva needs to fire in Australia and i'm pretty sure he will be one of the success stories in the upcoming tour of Australia.

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Cricinfo - Jayawardene aims high in Australia

"We're confident we can play good cricket and if we play good cricket we will be in with a very good chance of winning some matches," he said shortly after the team flew into Adelaide. "If I can finish 1-0, I will take that. If I can finish 2-0, I will take that, too. But the most important thing for us is how we compete.

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Cricinfo - Gillespie expects more Murali abuse

"With Murali coming out he always cops a gobful in Australia and he'll be expecting to cop that again," Gillespie said in the Australian. "He might have to grin and bear it. You shouldn't have to but that's often the way it is unfortunately."

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Monday, October 22, 2007

Cricket: Sanath Jayasuriya 73(74) Vs South Africa 7/8/06

Sanath Jayasuirya showed that at 37 years of age he had more to offer, with 2006 being his best year. His innings of 73 was crucial towards sri lanka chasing down 300+ to beat South africa in the final innings to win the test match and the series 2-0. ... (more)

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Australians on Murali alert for Test series

THE Australian cricket team today moves to "Murali alert" after seven weeks of dash and crash in South Africa and India.Ricky Ponting's men arrive home desperate to prevent Sri Lanka spinner Muthiah Muralidaran taking the nine Test scalps he needs to overtake their former teammate Shane Warne's world record of 708 wickets.

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As Symonds seethes, Murali gears up for hostile reception Down Under

THE conversation turns to crowd behaviour, and Muttiah Muralitharan's eyes grow distant. He has been down this path too many times. A man adored or, at least, admired in almost every other part of the cricketing world, Murali still can't quite reconcile with the fact his popularity in Australia ranks somewhere between drought and Dicko.

Revealed, discovered: no longer concealed Muralitharan

"It will be the same," Muralitharan says. "Nothing will change. One or two guys shout something, then a few others have a few drinks and it happens. There is a point you can take it, and there is a point where it goes overboard. That's the point I don't like. You can say some things and that's OK, but if you keep on going and going when I go to the boundary, it's too much. But I have to put up with it."

As with Australia's recently completed one-day series in India, the topic of crowd behaviour this summer will almost certainly claim airtime and column inches that might otherwise be devoted to athletic themes, such as the small matters of Muralitharan's first Test series in Australia since 1995 or his assault on Shane Warne's Test wicket-taking record.

But these are the times we live in. The monkey taunting of Andrew Symonds by sections of the Vadodara and Mumbai crowds over the past week all but overshadowed the deeds of Mitchell Johnson, who claimed a combined eight wickets in those matches to effectively bowl himself into the Test squad.

And despite the best efforts of Cricket Australia, which presumably will not replicate the shameful level of apathy displayed by its Indian counterpart this week, it would appear naive to imagine that Muralitharan will not find himself in the crosshairs of a bigotted spectator at some point over the next few months.

Muralitharan blames much of the animosity in Australia on Prime Minister John Howard, who publicly queried the Sri Lankan off spinner's action in 2004. As appealing as usurping Warne's record in Australia would be, you get the impression Muralitharan would be just as content to see Kevin Rudd trump the polls next month.

"That was the only reason why I avoided the [2004 Test] tour," he says. "I didn't want to get into an argument with a head of state speaking about me. I am just a cricketer. For him to talk about my action, it was not proper. Other people can talk, the public always have talked a little bit badly about me, but I don't care that much."

When talk returns to the cricket, Muralitharan is animated and expansive. Though he will not say it directly, Murali is clearly intent on exacting revenge on the Australian public this summer, employing his most controversial of bowling actions to take the nine wickets needed to overhaul their beloved Warne and his world record of 708 Test scalps.

The relationship between Muralitharan and Warne has steadily eroded since 2005, when the Australian leg spinner engaged in post-tsunami charity work. Warne's subtle digs at Murali's 163 "cheap" wickets against Bangladesh and Zimbabwe have irked. To overtake his record on his home soil, therefore, would be a major symbolic triumph for Muralitharan.
"We're not friends," he says. "We say 'Hi' if we see each other, but that's about it. Those are his own views about cheap wickets. Whether people buy it or not, I'm not sure. I can't help it. If Sri Lanka has the fixture, I have to play it. I have done well against other people, as well, there's no doubt about it.

"Maybe people can say they're cheap wickets, but still you have to bowl and take wickets. If it's so cheap, then a lot of bowlers can take the wickets.

"I would love the record to happen in Australia. It's important to me to go past that. I have always said that whoever plays longer will have the record. My goal is to play until 2011 and see how far I get. That's the way I'm thinking, to finish with a good number of 1000."

And what of the prospect of playing the first Test series against the Australians in the post-Warne and McGrath era? "We might have a good chance," he says. "We have to play well - not just well, bloody well - to beat them.

"It's the toughest task to ask to [go there and] beat them. It's not easy, but it's possible."

Courtesy of The Sydney Morning Herald

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Saturday, October 20, 2007

[Video] Witness the carnage | Sri Lanka 260/0 in the 20th over Vs England 2006

No video? Get the DivX Web Player for Windows or Mac

Jayasuriya and Tharanga; Sri Lanka's openers go berserk chasing a stiff target set by the Englishmen. England's 320 looked more like 120 in the midst of this onslaught. The Lions reached the target in 38 overs.

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Friday, October 19, 2007

[Video] World 20Twenty Cup | Sri Lanka Vs Kenya |2007

World Record 20Twenty Score of 260 by Sri Lanka and a record loss for Kenya.

Updated video

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Sri Lanka v England, 1st ODI, Dambulla 2007 | 1st Session

Sri Lanka took the opening honours of the one-day series against England with an overwhelming 119-run victory at Dambulla. Farveez Maharoof took advantage of some extra zip under the floodlights to floor England's chase with three key wickets and the innings fell apart for 150. Sri Lanka controlled the match from the outset with Mahela Jayawardene's 66 the leading contribution in their total of 269 - always worth more on a sluggish surface and England chasing in the evening.

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[Video] Sri Lanka v England, 1st ODI, Dambulla 2007 | 2nd Session

Farveez Maharoof took advantage of some extra zip under the floodlights to floor England's chase with three key wickets and the innings fell apart for 150.

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5th ODI: Sri Lanka v England at Colombo (RPS) - Oct 13, 2007

Sri Lanka 211 (Silva 73, Broad 3-36) beat England 104 (Fernando 6-27) by 107 runs. Dilhara Fernando's stunning career-best 6 for 27 secured Sri Lanka a consolation 107-run victory in the final one-day international in Colombo.

Their total of 211 again appeared under par, but Fernando took it upon himself to save some national pride with the fifth-best figures by a Sri Lankan in one-day cricket. From a promising 56 for 2, England lost seven wickets in 51 balls, however they still go away with the main prize.

1st Session

2ND Session

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[Video] 5th ODI: Sri Lanka v England at Colombo (RPS) - Oct 13, 2007 | Extended H/L

5th ODI: Sri Lanka v England at Colombo (RPS) - Oct 13, 2007 Sri Lanka won by 107 runs. Sri Lanka 211 (48.1 ov); England 104 (29.1 ov)


Sri Lanka 211 (Silva 73, Broad 3-36) beat England 104 (Fernando 6-27) by 107 runs. Dilhara Fernando's stunning career-best 6 for 27 secured Sri Lanka a consolation 107-run victory in the final one-day international in Colombo. Their total of 211 again appeared under par, but Fernando took it upon himself to save some national pride with the fifth-best figures by a Sri Lankan in one-day cricket. From a promising 56 for 2, England lost seven wickets in 51 balls, however they still go away with the main prize.

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Monday, October 15, 2007

The thump of humbug on willow

Martin Crowe's recent lecture at Lord's - the sixth annual Cowdrey lecture - was formally dedicated to the Spirit of Cricket. As I'm always wary when this term is invoked, I wasn't entirely shocked to find Crowe - former New Zealand captain, now a Rupert Murdoch employee - demonstrating this spirit by defaming one of contemporary cricket's great and admirable figures, Muttiah Muralitharan.

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[Video] Muttiah 'Murali' Muralitharan | 7/30 Vs India | 2000

Way back playback | Murali's 7-30 Vs India (played 27 Oct 2000) stands at number 4 in the all time best bowling figures list.

By Hilal

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[Video] Kevin Pietersen Vs Chaminda Vaas | 10/13/07

Rarely do we see Vaasy getting this worked up It was a good battle between the two. Vaas had an average series with the bat and ball his services with the bat were needed on a couple of occasions and he couldn't deliver. Vaas does no justice to his ability with the bat if I'm not mistaken he batted higher up in the order for Colts Cricket Club.

In any case Pietersen was being extremely arrogant walking in front and across his stumps to hoick Vaas away over mid wicket. Vaasy is a cunning and shrewd bowler, his reaction to Pietersen's wicket shows how much he wanted that.

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Monday, October 1, 2007

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