Island Cricket

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Jayawardene | Murali still great

THE article below has very 'Aussie' bias to it. To nuetralise this effect one must bring a key factor into the reader's attention.

Murali bowled in just a single inning in the first test match. Unless the Sri Lankan batsman put up a remarkable show with the bat, Murali may well only bowl in just 1 inning again in this test as well. In the last 12 years Murali has bowled in just 4 innings in Australia (playing for Sri Lanka, Murali has also represented a World Xi).

This is a clear sign that the other bowlers in the team have failed to deliver and team Sri Lanka have failed to put on a formidable total. Murali has never had the chance to attack Australia or bowl in a second inning.

Jayawardene Murali still great

It must also be mentioned that Murali was bowling with a wet ball as the conditions in Hobart were cold and wet. The umpires did not give the ground staff sufficient time to dry the outfield.

Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene says he hopes Australian cricket fans will still acknowledge his star off-spinner Muttiah Muralidaran as one of the game's all-time greats despite his dismal record on Australian soil continuing during the second Test in Hobart.

Muralidaran now looks certain to leave Australian soil without passing Shane Warne's record of 708 Test wickets - after he took just one wicket during Australia's huge first innings score of 5-542 declared.

After taking just 1-140 from 46 overs, Muralidaran - whose bowling action has long been considered suspect by Australian fans - has now taken just 3-310 for the series.

And in a total of four Tests against Australia in Australia he has just six wickets with critics saying so many of his victims have come against lowly sides such as Bangladesh and Zimbabwe - in contrast to Warne who hardly played a Test against either nation.

Certainly the Australians treated Muralidaran with contempt on day two of this Test with Adam Gilchrist at one stage smashing him for two successive sixes to become the first player in the game's history to smash 100 sixes in Test cricket.

But Jayawardene defended Muralidaran's record after play on day two as Australia's total score for this series reached 1093 runs for the loss of just wickets with Muralidaran still five wickets short of equalling Warne's record and unlikely to get a chance to bowl again in this match.

"He has taken 700 wickets and it doesn't matter where he takes those wickets," Jaywardene said, when asked if he believed Australian fans respected Muralidaran's achievements.

"This is a tough place to come and perform - everyone knows that - and Australia are the number one team over the last ten years."

"Murali has obviously found it hard to pick up wickets here (in Australia) because these guys do play him pretty well."

"But the fact remains Murali has taken 700 wickets and due recognition should be given to him by everybody."

Muralidaran's cause was not helped on day two by the fact Sri Lanka was down to just three frontline bowlers all day with opening bowler Farveez Maharoof off the field with an ankle injury.

Jayawardene confirmed after play his big quick had suffered a serious ankle injury.

"He has got a fracture in his ankle," Jayawardene said.

"It looks like he will be out for five to weeks meaning he will miss the upcoming series against England."

RELATED AUDIO

(Nov 17, 07) -
Sri Lankan skipper defends Murali's poor record in Oz

Courtesy Cricket Australia

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