Thursday, 22 July 2010

Final analysis

Sri Lanka's Muttiah Muralitharan (C) celebrates taking his 800th wicket during the fifth day of their first test cricket match against India in Galle July 22, 2010. Muralitharan became the first bowler to take 800 test wickets on the fifth day of the first test against India on Thursday. The 38-year-old Muralitharan, the leading wicket-taker in tests and one-day internationals, dismissed India's Pragyan Ojha to reach the milestone in his final test match appearance.  REUTERS/Andrew Caballero-Reynolds (SRI LANKA - Tags: SPORT CRICKET IMAGES OF THE DAY)

The stands were full and covered with billboards of his face and banners wishing him good luck. A massive electronic counter had been set up to display his wicket tally, just in case anyone was in any doubt. His wife, his son, his mum, his dad, his mother-in-law and his President had turned up to cheer him on. A red carpet was laid out for him when he walked onto the field, and the fireworks were in place around the ground. No pressure, then.

After getting number 799 in no time, he bowled 141 wicketless deliveries, 44 of them while India were 9 wickets down. With his 44039th and very last ball in Test cricket, he took number 800.

Final analysis: 7339.5 Overs, 1794 Maidens, 18180 Runs, 800 Wickets.

Not bad. I will miss him.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Murali's greatest hits on Cricinfo

A little over two weeks from now, Muttiah Muralitharan will take the field in a Test match for the very last time. I must say I'm not surprised by the news that Murali is retiring a little earlier than previously planned, but I'm nonetheless rather saddened by it.

I believe there's a strong case for considering Murali the greatest spinner Test cricket has ever seen, though clearly some may believe there's a strong case for considering me a greatly biased judge. At any rate, Cricinfo have just published a piece of mine - a combination of a pair of blog posts I wrote back in January - which I hope adds something to the debate.
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