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Murali's first Aussie tour in 12 years

Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan braces for a chilly reception from fans as he bids to break Shane Warne's wickets record.
AFP | By HT Correspondent, Sydney
UPDATED ON OCT 24, 2007 07:36 PM IST

Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan arrived on Wednesday for his first full Australia Test tour in 12 years, braced for a chilly reception from fans as he bids to break Shane Warne's wickets record.

Muralitharan, who as refused to our Australia in the past because of crowds taunting his unusual bowling action, wants to show why he is one of the best bowlers in the world, skipper Mahela Jayawardene said.

"He hasn't played here for 10 years in a Test match and he's pretty geared up I think. He feels Australia is one of the places that he has to challenge himself," Jayawardene said.

"This is probably a place where he has to prove he's one of the top bowlers in the world, so I think he's looking forward to the challenge."

'Murali' needs just nine wickets to overhaul Warne's 708 Test scalps in the Test matches in Brisbane and Hobart starting on November 8 and 16.

The Sri Lanka tour follows Australia's return home after a bitter series against India marred by the racial taunting of the team's only black player, Andrew Symonds, who was subjected to monkey noises and gestures.

There are fears that Muralitharan could receive unsportsman like treatment in Australia, where he has been called for 'throwing' on two previous tours and subjected to constant crowd calls of "no ball."

Sri Lanka coach Trevor Bayliss said there were "always idiots in every crowd" and it was near impossible to control the behaviour of fans.

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