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Last Updated: Monday, 3 December 2007, 11:53 GMT
Murali record dents England hopes
First Test, Kandy: Sri Lanka 188 & 167-2 v England 281 (day three, stumps)

By Oliver Brett

Muttiah Muralitharan
It was a historic day for Muttiah Muralitharan in Kandy

Muttiah Muralitharan created history in his hometown of Kandy as Sri Lanka seized the initiative on day three of the first Test against England.

Muralitharan took the one wicket he needed to pass Shane Warne's Test record of 708, and raised the bar to 710 with excellent figures of 6-55.

England rallied to reach 281 all out and secure an important 93-run lead.

But Sanath Jayasuriya's ebullient 78 swung the match back Sri Lanka's way as they closed on 167-2, 74 runs ahead.

In what proved to be a crucial over, Jayasuriya was dropped by Ian Bell high above his head at slip off James Anderson on 35.

Having hit the first ball of the over for four, and gaining another boundary thanks to Bell's drop, he also despatched the last four balls of the over to the ropes.

Jayasuriya's stunning volley of 24 runs from the six balls preceded an announcement from him at the end of the day that he was retiring from Tests, but continuing with one-dayers.

Soon after tea, England's lead was wiped out, and Jayasuriya pulled Matthew Hoggard for the first six of the match as he and Michael Vandort established Sri Lanka's best ever opening stand against England.


Eventually Jayasuriya's luck ran out with the total on 113, umpire Aleem Dar upholding Hoggard's appeal for lbw.

England desperately needed the wicket, and they were fortunate to get it as the ball appeared to have pitched outside leg-stump.

Kevin Pietersen sat out fielding duties, nursing a broken little finger, although England stressed he would be fit enough to bat in the second innings.

Meanwhile, his team-mates pressed for a second wicket, eventually removing Vandort for 49 when Bell righted his previous wrong, diving to his left at slip to give Anderson a valuable wicket.

Monty Panesar (0-53) bowled immaculately without any luck on a wicket that had not deteriorated as much as expected.

And with the hugely talented Kumar Sangakkara (30no) looking untroubled at stumps, England were left needing a big day on Tuesday to rekindle victory ambitions.

When the day dawned - thankfully bright after the Sunday afternoon deluge - all the focus was on Muralitharan.

He bowled the second over of the morning after England had resumed on 186-6, still two runs behind.

Sanath Jayasuriya
Jayasuriya's innings swung the match Sri Lanka's way

But while Muralitharan tried everything to snare either Ryan Sidebottom or Paul Collingwood to break Warne's record, England steadily accumulated.

Collingwood was the epitome of patience, while Sidebottom on-drove Dilhara Fernando for four and clipped a Murali delivery wide of mid-on for another boundary.

After nine fruitless overs Murali was replaced, with captain Mahela Jayawardene opting to take the new ball and the celebrated spinner - and an expectant crowd - had to wait.

The change worked, Lasith Malinga inducing a Sidebottom outside edge after England's number eight had hit a Test-best 31.

But Jayawardene soon returned to Murali in search of the eighth wicket.

And the record arrived when a delivery sent from around the wicket got through Collingwood's usually watertight defences to bounce and hit the top of off-stump.

Immediately, firecrackers were heard around the Asgiriya Stadium as 6000 Sri Lankans celebrated the historic moment - and on the pitch Murali was enveloped by his ecstatic team-mates.

But England were not done, despite the loss of Collingwood for 45.

Hoggard drove Chaminda Vaas for two boundaries, before being stumped off Murali on the sweep.

Finally, Vaas wrapped up the England innings just before lunch when Anderson was out lbw.

Muralitharan's career in photos
03 Dec 07 |  Cricket
Muralitharan - the record-breaker
03 Dec 07 |  Sri Lanka
Jayasuriya to retire from Tests
03 Dec 07 |  Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka v England day 3 photos
03 Dec 07 |  Cricket
Murali ties mark to hurt England
02 Dec 07 |  England
England on top against Sri Lanka
01 Dec 07 |  England
England in Sri Lanka 2007
25 Jun 07 |  Cricket


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