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Last Updated:  Monday, 17 March, 2003, 11:27 GMT
Styris: I conquered Murali
By Thrasy Petropoulos
BBC Sport in Durban

Scott Styris
Styris believes he has found the way to outwit Muralitharan
Scott Styris believes New Zealand may have conquered one of the great challenges of the modern game - how to handle Muttiah Muralitharan.

Styris, who struck 141 off 125 balls against Sri Lanka in the first round of the World Cup, says that Murali can be thwarted by taking an off-stump guard.

Reluctant though they would be to take advice from a Kiwi, Australia's batsmen would doubtless be intrigued by Styris' comments ahead of the tournament's first semi-final in Port Elizabeth.

"I had played against Muttiah Muralitharan a couple of times before, in Sharjah, and he got me out cheaply on both occasions," Styris told BBC Sport's website.

"I talked to some of the Pakistan players and they said that I was going too hard at him.

"You can't dominate Murali. You have to aim for the gaps."

It was surprising how fast he bowled and was still able to spin the ball
Scott Styris on Muttiah Muralitharan

Ironically, Styris struck six sixes in the match in Bloemfontein, though that had more to do with New Zealand's failed attempt to overhaul Sri Lanka's 272-7 than any desire to dominate Murali.

Styris went on: "The one thing you can't do is leave the crease when you play him because he now has the one that goes the other way.

"It was surprising how fast he bowled and was still able to spin the ball. So you have to look at the next best option which is to stay put and look for the gaps.

"The one tactic we have developed against him is to take an off-stump guard. It reduces the number of ways in which he can dismiss you.

"Most of the best batsmen do it now.

"Michael Vaughan might not take an off-stump guard but he usually has two movements across which leave him on off stump. And he's a fantastic Test batsman."

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