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Murali bowls Sri Lanka into first Test

india Updated: Dec 08, 2006 20:32 IST
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Muttiah Muralitharan and Chaminda Vaas each captured two wickets before lunch on Friday to bowl Sri Lanka back into the first cricket Test against New Zealand at Jade Stadium.

Sri Lanka was bowled out for 154 in its first innings on Thursday after misreading a grassy pitch and batting first on winning the toss.

New Zealand resumed its first innings at 85 for two Friday, strongly placed to control the match with Craig Cumming 37 not out and captain Stephen Fleming 7 not out.

The balance of the Test changed sharply in a dramatic morning session when Muralitharan, finding turn with both his stock delivery and his "doosra," quickly snatched two wickets and when veteran Vaas took two more.

At lunch, New Zealand was 155 for six, leading Sri Lanka by one run with Daniel Vettori not out 23 and Fleming, who had batted cautiously throughout the morning session, 42 not out.

New Zealand had reached 106 for two, apparently heading to a substantial first innings lead, when Muralitharan sparked the slump which saw four wickets fall for seven runs.

Muralitharan first bowled Cumming for 43, then had Nathan Astle lbw for 2 when New Zealand was 108 for four.

New Zealand's chances of substantially overhauling Sri Lanka's total diminished when Vaas claimed the wickets of Jacob Oram and Brendon McCullum within three balls and at the same score, leaving New Zealand 113 for six.

Oram was caught by Chamara Silva for 1, flicking a half volley to mid-wicket, and McCullum offered a half-hearted defensive stroke to a straight delivery and was bowled without scoring. Muralitharan had two wickets for 45 from 23 overs at lunch and Vaas three for 49 from 18.

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