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Last Updated: Friday, 2 July, 2004, 10:18 GMT 11:18 UK
McGrath 'almost quit'
LEADING TEST WICKET-TAKERS
Glenn McGrath
527 M Muralitharan (Sri)
520 S Warne (Aus)
519 C Walsh (WI)
435 G McGrath (Aus)
434 Kapil Dev (Ind)
431 R Hadlee (NZ)
Australian seam bowler Glenn McGrath has revealed how he contemplated retirement just a week before making his Test comeback against Sri Lanka.

He has undergone two operations on his left ankle but experienced further pain during a warm-up game.

"After day two I was disappointed with the way I bowled and mentioned to Justin [Langer] how I could easily have retired then," he said.

"But I woke up next morning, the ankle felt great. It was a total reversal."

He added: "I'd gone from 'ready to retire' to 'could'nt be happier' with the way I bowled, so I was glad I came up here to play that match.

"Justin thinks you've got to hit rock bottom before you can really turn things around."

McGrath's return to Test cricket in Darwin could hardly have gone better as he took 5-32 to help put Australia in a commanding position.

It also lifted him into fourth place on the all-time Test wicket-taking list with 435.

"Sir Richard Hadlee and Kapil Dev, they were both in front of me but not too many wickets away.

"There were stages that I wondered if I would ever catch them. So to get those five wickets and go past two legends of the game is a pretty big buzz."

Australia dismissed the tourists for 97 on the second day, and although they were subsequently all out for 201 in their second innings, it left Sri Lanka with a victory target of 311.

With 30 wickets going down on the first two days, the odds against them achieving what would be their first Test victory on Australian soil appear unlikely.

"It's going to be a difficult one. You have to be realistic when you look at the totals both teams have got on this track - they haven't been high," said batsman Kumar Sangakkara.

"It was a big confidence boost to get back out there and have them in trouble again and get them out for 201.

"It's up to us now to step up, take the responsibility and try and win."




SEE ALSO
Australia call up MacGill
24 Jun 04  |  Cricket
Warne fit to face Sri Lanka
22 Jun 04  |  Cricket



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