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Murali set for another big haul

The spinner hopes to celebrate his elevation as the world's top-ranked bowler with a bagful of wickets in the second Test against Bangladesh.

india Updated: Mar 07, 2006 13:54 IST

Sri Lanka's Muttiah Muralitharan hopes to celebrate his elevation as the world's top-ranked bowler with a bagful of wickets in Wednesday's second Test against Bangladesh.

The off-spinner replaced Australian Glenn McGrath in the International Cricket Council's latest rankings released on Monday after his nine-wicket haul in the first Test in Chittagong last week.

Muralitharan's devastating bowling sent Bangladesh crashing to an eight-wicket defeat, their sixth loss in as many matches against Sri Lanka and the 36th defeat in 41 Tests so far.

Of the remaining five Tests, four ended in draws while their lone success came against Zimbabwe.

Muralitharan is the only bowler in history to claim more than 1,000 international wickets. His tally of 1004 included 593 Test and 411 one-day wickets.

"I am always positive about taking wickets in every game I play," the 33-year-old said. "I hope I can do the same again here."

Sri Lanka's stand-in captain Mahela Jayawardena, who took over from the rested Marvan Atapattu for the short tour, paid rich tribute to his main strike bowler.

"The key is that Murali is such a deep-thinking bowler and someone who can adjust his game brilliantly to the conditions," said Jayawardena.

"I feel he is bowling really well at present. During the next year we could see him at the peak of his powers."

Jayawardena warned against taking Bangladesh lightly in the second Test despite the rivals' poor record.

"We know that Bangladesh will come at us hard again and we must focus completely on our gameplan," he said.

"We all know what we have to do and we know that we can't take Bangladesh lightly. There are plenty of areas where we can improve and it is essential that we do so.

"They have some young guys with lots of talent. They also have some spirit. They are improving all the time. They just need to focus on the mental side and their attitude and they can become a competitive international team."

Bangladesh folded inside four days in Chittagong despite being 319-9 on the first day after a fighting 136 from Mohammad Ashraful, the youngster's third Test century.

Teams (from):

Bangladesh: Habibul Bashar (capt), Khaled Mashud, Shahriar Nafees, Rajin Saleh, Javed Omar, Nafees Iqbal, Mohammad Ashraful, Aftab Ahmed, Alok Kapali, Mohammad Rafique, Enamul Haque, Mushfiqur Rahim, Syed Rasel, Tapash Baisya, Shahadat Hossain.

Sri Lanka: Mahela Jayawardene (capt), Kumar Sangakkara, Upul Tharanga, Michael Vandort, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Thilan Samaraweera, Chamara Kapugedera, Prasanna Jayawardene, Muttiah Muralitharan, Malinga Bandara, Farveez Maharoof, Dammika Prasad, Lasith Malinga, Dilhara Fernando, Sajeewa Weerakoon.

First Published: Mar 07, 2006 13:31 IST