Lara, Murali spar to keep dream alive | cricket | Hindustan Times
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Lara, Murali spar to keep dream alive

Sparks are bound to fly when West Indies skipper Brian Lara bats against ace Sri Lankan off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan in a Super Eights match.

cricket Updated: Apr 02, 2007 13:05 IST

Sparks are bound to fly when West Indies skipper Brian Lara bats against ace Sri Lankan off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan in a Super Eights match at Georgetown (Guyana) on Sunday.

The pair was involved in an engrossing duel in a three-Test series in Sri Lanka in 2001, with Lara proving why is he considered one of the best batsmen against spin in modern cricket.

If there was any West Indian batsman who succeeded in dominating the Sri Lankan spinner, it was Lara who plundered 688 runs in three matches with three centuries on slow turning pitches.

But it was never easy upstaging champion spinner Murali, who kept probing the batsmen with his subtle variations to play a big role in his team’s 3-0 series victory with 24 wickets. Muralitharan has already described Lara as “more classy” than others and the “most dangerous left-hand batsman I have ever bowled to in my career”.

Lara has already earned lavish praises from retired Australian leg-spin wizard Shane Warne. “(Sachin) Tendulkar and Lara are the two best batsmen of my era,” Warne said.

“I think these two guys have been the toughest at the international level. Lara because of his placement. I can’t believe
it. It’s just amazing. He can dominate a game, no matter who’s bowling.”

Lara, quick to spot error in line and length, uses his feet remarkably well against spinners and never gives them a chance to find any rhythm. Lara is in form in his last World Cup, having already scored 195 runs in four innings with one half-century.

Muralitharan also didn’t take time to find his rhythm in the ongoing tournament, beginning with two wickets against Bermuda. He was at his best in big matches against India and South Africa.

He also bagged three wickets against South Africa and was instrumental in keeping the batsmen silent in the middle overs. Murali is the second-highest wicket-taker in the shorter version of the game with 441, behind only retired Pakistani Wasim Akram (502).