Island Cricket

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

[Video] Muttiah Muralidaran 7/155 vs England | 1998

The world seems to close in on a batsman who is so oppressed. Reason departs and is replaced by panic - ``Do I lead with pad or bat? I must not lunge with both together. For how long can I play a miss? I must not be shackled, I must attack this demon.'' So Butcher tried the chasse again but this time, fatally, he left his crease just a split second before Muralitharan released the ball. The bowler dragged the fizzer shorter by a foot, beat the batsman's desperate lurch and had him stumped by a country mile.

Dreamy, old-fashioned stuff captured in one man's artistry. But Muralitharan is different again from what has gone before. He controls the ball from his fingers but uses an enormous flick of the wrist to increase the revolutions which make the ball spin so. He is not a 'drifter' in the way that, say, Fred Titmus was, or Robert Croft is now, someone who swings the ball towards the slips from an off-stump line and then trusts in spin to create the gap between bat and pad. Writes Mark Nicholas


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