Murali wary of 'tough to beat' England
Muttiah Muralitharan warned that England would not be easy to beat in the upcoming Test series.india Updated: Dec 01, 2003 12:26 IST
Sri Lanka's star spinner Muttiah Muralitharan warned on Monday that England would not be easy to beat in the upcoming Test series.
"England are a very good batting side and their past record shows what they are capable of. It won't be easy for us even though we are playing at home," Muralitharan told AFP.
England start their three-Test series against Sri Lanka at this southern coastal town on Tuesday.
England have won their last two series against the Islanders, securing a 2-1 verdict in Sri Lanka two years ago and a 2-0 scoreline at home last year.
Muralitharan, however, said those results will not put this team under any extra pressure.
"The pressure to perform is always there and this series is no different," said the prolific off-spinner, who has taken 459 wickets in 82 Tests.
Muralitharan denied he had surprises up his sleeve as had been speculated in the media in recent months.
"It was amusing to read about some special deliveries that I have been working on. I haven't said anything like that to anyone and was surprised to have been quoted as saying so," he said.
Muralitharan said he had great respect for England's batsmen, especially Graham Thorpe, who scored 269 runs on England's last visit to Sri Lanka.
"They have some good left handers in the side, but bowling to them doesn't take much. We are doing it all the time and it is just a matter of going out and doing your best," the 31-year-old year said.
Thorpe, opener Marcus Trescothick and Mark Butcher, all left-handers, are prominent members of England's batting line-up.
"One has to try different things all the time. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don't. But one has to try the best at all times," Muralitharan said.
He said he had fond memories against England, most notably his 16-wicket haul in the one-off Test at the Oval a few years back.
"That was a special moment when I helped my team beat England in their own backyard," he said. "I also have some good performances in Galle and hope to have a good start to the series."
The second Test will be played in Kandy from December 10-14 and the third at the Sinhalese sports club in Colombo from December 18-22.