It was destined…Legend and controversial Muttiah Muralidaran,Murli for short,the magical 38 year old Sri Lankan Spinner has just taken the last Indian Wicket to reach the coveted magical 800 Wicket Mark in Test Cricket in his Swan Song Test match
The Sri Lankan Captain was naturally kind and by design gave Murli a long spell so he had a good chance to reach this historic landmark…in fact India faced 115.4 overs in their Second Innings,of which Murli bowled 44.4 overs for his 3 for 128…he had mauled India in the first Innings too capturing 5 wickets for 63 runs for an overall match haul of 8 Wickets for 191 runs
Sri Lanka need just 95 to win this First Test match in the Indo-Lanka Series at Galle and they have enough time to do so on this fifth and last day…Indians are praying for Rain !….India would have lost in four days as one full day was rained off in this Test Match….The two Sri Lankan Bowling ‘Ms’ made the difference…Malinga and Murli…both turning out to be match winners….between them they took 15 of the 20 Indian Wickets…..Indians have been truly outplayed in this first Test Match…Our Bowling has lacked Penetration and our Batting has lacked the Application to stay at the Wicket for Long…. required for Test Cricket
The 800 Wicket Feat achieved by Murli can be assessed for it’s Greatness when viewed in Perspective of other Top Test Wicket takers……Shane Warne is next at 703 with Anil Kumble following at 619…Kapil Dev,Richard Hadlee,Wasim Akram,Courtney Walsh etc have all taken more than 400….but all have retired….In fact there is no playing cricketer who has taken 400 and more Test Wickets and Murli has announced his retirement too
Murli has his share of detractors too….they feel he is a ‘Chucker’ and his bowling action is not legal in the traditional sense and therefore he is undeserving of such a record….laws may have been amended to legitimise his action….but the undeniable fact is that Murli could turn the Ball viciously on even a Flat Wicket
Murli has achieved this record of 800 Test Wickets in an 18 year career spanning from 1992 to 2010,playing 133 Test Matches with 9/51 being his best bowling figures in a single Innings….he’s given away 18180 Runs so his wickets came at an average of 22.73 runs
With fewer Test Matches being played relative to ODIs and T20s and the fact there is no Currently Playing Bowler who has even crossed 400 Test Wickets,Murli’s Record of 800 Test Wickets in unlikely to be eclipsed atleast in the next 10 years !