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A guard of honour for Murali

cricket Updated: Jul 21, 2010 00:11 IST
Amol Karhadkar
Amol Karhadkar
Hindustan Times
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When Muttiah Muralitharan crossed the boundary line to bat, 10 minutes before tea, Harbhajan Singh was relaxing at third man. Though the Indian offie had preferred to rest at the boundary instead of joining his teammates in celebration when Lasith Malinga was dismissed, Bhajji ran towards the rest of the lot as he saw Murali - playing his last Test - marching towards the crease.

The Indian team's guard of honour coincided with a 21 canon salute to the most successful bowler in cricket's history. And the Galle District Cricket Association had another round of 21 shots as Murali entered the field along with his teammates.

This time, the budding cricketers from Galle joined with the Sri Lankan cricketer to express their respect for Muralitharan.

All they want from their favourite son is seven more wickets in the next two days, which will not only help Sri Lanka to victory but also take Muralitharan to the never-before attained mark of 800 Test wickets.

Lost valuables

Though there was hardly any dark cloud in the sky as both the teams arrived at the Galle International Stadium on Tuesday, a wet outfield delayed the start of play by half an hour.

It meant that the Indian team had enough time for a warm-up session and a prolonged fielding session. Just when the players were making their way to the dressing room before the start, most of the players were seen searching for something in the outfield. That something turned out to be VVS Laxman's gold pendant, which went missing during the fielding drills. Even though the pendant could not be found, the stylish batsman will not rue the loss if he can lead India's mission to avoid a defeat in the series opener.


Jaidev Unadkat and Umesh Yadav, the two young bowlers called in as net bowlers before the series, returned to India on the opening day of the Test. But Tuesday marked the arrival of two others from India, though they will not be seen on the field.

National selectors Narendra Hirwani and Surendra Bhave reached Galle during the second session of the day. Though they were supposed to reach before the Test match, the second-day wash out meant the duo did not miss much action.

Both Bhave and Hirwani will return home after the second Test. Hirwani is slated to return to Dambulla for the tri-series along with chief selector K Srikkanth.