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Batsmen need to work harder: Murali

Spin king Muttiah Muralitharan says Sri Lanka's batsmen need to work harder and play more courageously to ensure victory in the final two Tests.

india Updated: Dec 08, 2003 11:40 IST

Spin king Muttiah Muralitharan says Sri Lanka's batsmen need to work harder and play more courageously to ensure victory in the final two five-day Tests of England's tour, a newspaper reported on Monday.

"We had a good opportunity with the wicket first and we could have scored 450-500 runs on it. But we failed. Our batsmen didn't make the runs," the Daily News quoted Muralitharan as saying of the first Test which ended in a draw Saturday in the southern coastal town of Galle.

"We played tense cricket. We didn't play freely and go for our shots," he said.

Muralitharan surpassed the 10-wicket mark in a Test match for the 12th time, taking 11 wickets for 93 runs.

Sri Lanka made 331 in their first innings and 226 in the second to which England replied with 235 and 210 for nine. Muralitharan came to the rescue in both innings, contributing 38 runs in the first innings and 13 in the second.

"It is not an easy thing to take 11 wickets on any type of pitch. I think I am bowling well at the moment," he said. The second Test, in Sri Lanka's hill capital Kandy, begins Wednesday.

Muralitharan, who is from Sri Lanka's Tamil minority, is a national hero. The country's first cricket academy is to be named after Muralitharan, the world's third-highest Test wicket taker after West Indian paceman Courtney Walsh (519) and Australian legspinner Shane Warne (491).

Muralitharan has said he would like to continue playing until the 2007 World Cup, by which time he hopes to have reached his target of 600 wickets.

First Published: Dec 08, 2003 11:40 IST