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Murali equals Warne's world record

The SL spinner claims his 708th wicket in the first Test against England to match the retired Australian's feat.

cricket Updated: Dec 02, 2007 20:45 IST

Sri Lanka spinner Muttiah Muralitharan claimed 4-30 to equal Shane Warne's world record for the most test wickets on the second day of the first test against England on Sunday.

Muralitharan ripped through England's top order after lunch to reduce the tourists to 186 for six shortly before tea when rain washed out play for the day.

Cheered on by home supporters, Muralitharan claimed the four wickets he needed to draw level with the Australian leg spinner on 708 wickets.

Matches: 116*
Overs:6369.2
Balls:15361
Wickets: 708
Best Bowling (Innings):9/51
Best Bowling (Match):16/220
Average:21.69
Economy Rate:2.41
Strike Rate: 53.9
5 wickets/innings: 60
10 wickets/match: 20
Catches: 65

Resuming on 49 for one in reply to Sri Lanka's 188, England lost the wickets of Michael Vaughan (37) and Ian Bell (83) during the morning before collapsing in the afternoon.

Muralitharan followed up with the wickets of Pietersen (31) and Ravi Bopara (eight) in the afternoon to equal Warne's record tally.

With England still trailing by two runs, Paul Collingwood was 14 not out and Ryan Sidebottom was on one when the umpires suspended play.

Bell started the morning fluently, quickly reaching his 15th half century. He added 107 runs for the second wicket with Vaughan.

Muralitharan, introduced into the attack after initial bursts from the fast bowlers, finally broke through for Sri Lanka in the second hour.

Vociferous appeals

Vaughan was given out caught at bat pad after vociferous appeals, although television replays indicated he had missed the ball.

The off spinner also snared Bell minutes before the break as Chamara Silva clung on to a diving catch at short mid-wicket. Bell had hit 12 boundaries during his 125-ball innings.

Muralitharan continued bowling straight after lunch as Pietersen and Collingwood chipped away at the Sri Lanka lead with a 38-run partnership.

He finally broke through as Pietersen tried to pad away a straight delivery and was adjudged lbw.

Debutant Bopara fell soon after, well caught down the leg side by wicket-keeper Prasanna Jayawardene.

Wicket-keeper Matthew Prior, the last recognised batsman before England's tailenders, chipped a full-length delivery from Dilhara Fernando to midwicket to be dismissed for a duck.

Muralitharan, 35, had previously held the test wickets world record after surpassing West Indian Courtney Walsh (519 wickets) in 2004.

He suffered a shoulder injury later that year and was overtaken by Warne, who retired from test cricket in January with 708 wickets from 145 matches. Muralitharan reached the same milestone in his 116th game.

Renowned for extracting an incredible amount of turn from an unique rubber-wristed bowling action, Muralitharan holds several other records in test cricket including the most five-wicket hauls (60) and ten-wicket hauls (20).

He has also developed a special delivery called a doosra that spins in the opposite direction to his stock off spinner.