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Last Updated: Monday, 3 December 2007, 06:27 GMT
Muralitharan breaks Test record
Muttiah Muralitharan
Muralitharan broke the record in his 116th Test match
Sri Lanka's Muttiah Muralitharan has broken Shane Warne's record to become the game's leading Test wicket-taker.

The spinner, 35, bowled England's Paul Collingwood in the first Test in Kandy to claim his 709th Test victim.

Muralitharan reached the mark in his 116th Test - 29 fewer than Warne - and has conceded only 21.77 runs per wicket compared to the Australian's 25.41.

He was four behind Warne before the series began but took his fifth wicket of the match to claim the record.

England kept Muralitharan at bay during his first spell of the third morning but he struck immediately in his second, bowling Collingwood from around the wicket.

It was in front of his home crowd and they went wild as firecrackers were set off to mark the moment of history.

It's a bigger moment than if I had taken it in Australia, it's the right time I think

Muttiah Muralitharan

Muralitharan was hugged by his team-mates, with his proud wife and son watching from the stands.

It was a huge moment in cricket, and a vivid contrast from Sri Lanka's November Test tour of Australia, where Muralitharan took 4-400 in a 2-0 series defeat.

He said: "It's my hometown, my parents are here, my wife is here... all the relatives are here and all my schoolfriends.

"Everybody is here. It's a bigger moment than if I had taken it in Australia, it's the right time I think. It's not easy to take six wickets in an innings, I managed to let my pressure off now."

And he admitted his record-taking ball had not spun as he had wanted it too.

"I tried to spin the ball and it went the other way, but that's a special wicket," Muralitharan said.

He ended the first innings with 6-55 - 710 Test wickets.

The feat marked a new high in the 15-year career of one of the most celebrated bowlers of the modern game, whose controversial bent-arm action has been questioned in the past by umpires.


Muralitharan had held the record before when he surpassed West Indies' Courtney Walsh's 519 wickets in 2004.

But he suffered a shoulder injury later that year and was then overtaken by Warne.

Muralitharan holds several other records in Test cricket including the most five-wicket hauls (61) and 10-wicket hauls (20).

He said his 1998 performance at The Oval against England, when he took 16 wickets, was his career highlight.

"Everyone thought I was a good bowler then and I didn't look back from there.

"I like to be a bowler because I can't bat properly. After 17 years of cricket I have got the opportunities and made the wickets fall."

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