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No individual battle with Sachin: Murali

Muralitharan played down talks of any individual duel with Tendulkar and said all that he was focussed on was his own performance.

india Updated: Nov 02, 2005 18:48 IST

Sri Lanka's leading wicket-taker Muttiah Muralitharan on Wednesday played down talks of any individual duel with master batsman Sachin Tendulkar and said all that he was focussed on was his own bowling performance.

"Sachin (Tendulkar) is a great player, but I am also trying hard," Muralitharan said on the eve of the fourth one-day international here.

The off-spinner, who has the second highest Test tally of 568 wickets besides 389 scalps in one-dayers, has struggled to keep in check the Indian batsmen who have been firing full cylinders in the series.

Muralitharan did not think he had bowled badly in the three matches in which the hosts outplayed the Lankans for a 3-0 lead in the seven-match series.

"I am happy with the way I am bowling. I will bowl better in the Tests (against India) as in one-dayers a bowler is limited to bowl only ten overs," he said.

The spin magician said that his team was still capable of coming hard at the Indians in the reminder of the series.

"We don't want to give excuses, but there's plenty of cricket left and we will come back hard," he said.

Visiting captain Marvan Atapattu too refused to blame any one player for Sri Lanka's poor display.

"This is not the time to blame individuals for the defeats. It's only going to put your team down," he said.

"Everything is going well for the Indians, including the changes they have brought about like Irfan Pathan and Mahendra Singh Dhoni (coming in at number three in the batting order).

"Dhoni outplayed us in Jaipur though I should say we batted well there to make 298," Atapattu said.

"It's a once in a lifetime innings that he played and is unlikely to be repeated."

"But I am confident that if we batted the way we did at Jaipur we are in with a good chance (to win) tomorrow."

Atapattu said Thilan Samaraweera might replace Mahela Jayawardene who would miss the matchon Thursdayas he has returned home to get married.

The vice-captain is expected to rejoin the team ahead of the fifth ODI at Ahmedabad on November 6.

Atapattu also said that star player Sanath Jayasuriya, who bowled in the nets on Wednesday, could be used in his capacity as a left arm spinner on Thursday.

Jayasuriya, who has been hampered by a shoulder injury, admitted he was disappointed with his performance over the last three matches.

"I would like to see myself getting more runs. The shoulder injury is improving. It poses a slight problem while batting. I don't know whether I would bowl tomorrow," the veteran player said.

First Published: Nov 02, 2005 18:48 IST