He went into the final with 800 wickets in 133 Tests and 534 in one-day internationals, both world records.
But in his 350th one-day international a half-fit Murali was rendered wicketless, his eight overs costing an economical 39 runs but without quite the same sharp turn that made him so difficult to face for so long.
Muralitharan's longevity as a top-flight player could be seen from the fact he was the sole survivor in the current side from the Sri Lanka team that beat Australia to win the 1996 World Cup final in Lahore.
His career, although littered with individual records, was highly controversial on account of his unorthodox action.
Born with a bent elbow, he was called three-times for 'throwing' by Australian umpires in the mid 1990s.
He was also once called a 'chucker' by John Howard -- a comment which would later help scupper the former Australian Prime Minister's bid to become president of the International Cricket Council.
Repeated bio-mechanical tests indicated his action was legal.
But when the ICC amended their rules on bowling actions to allow for 15 degrees of flexibility in 2005 many critics felt it was a decision designed solely for Murali's benefit and a move to appease cricket's powerful 'Asian bloc'.