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Thorpe hoping to relive former glories

England batsman Graham Thorpe aims to relive one of his greatest achievements when the first Test against Sri Lanka starts on Tuesday.

india Updated: Nov 29, 2003 10:51 IST
Reuters
Reuters
PTI

England batsman Graham Thorpe aims to relive one of his greatest achievements when the first Test against Sri Lanka starts on Tuesday.

Thorpe's nerveless batting was crucial to England's success on their last tour of Sri Lanka in 2001.

The 34-year-old left-hander played match-winning innings in the final two Tests, finishing the series with 269 runs at an average of 67.25.

Sri Lanka off spinner Muttiah Muralitharan believes Thorpe's wicket may be the key to next month's three-Test series.

"Thorpe was superb during that series and he is the key man this time too," Muralitharan told Reuters.

"He's patient, picks up the length quickly and works the ball around cleverly," added Muralitharan.

Thorpe looked unlikely to play a role as he struggled to regain his place in the side after a string of personal problems.

But he was recalled for the final Test against South Africa at the Oval, a must-win game for England who needed victory to avoid a series defeat.

Thorpe scored an emotional 124 in front of his home crowd to book a place on tours to Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and West Indies.

"It was massive game and probably the best innings of my life," Thorpe told reporters.

"It's been a long road coming back, but I am really enjoying my cricket at the moment and I feel that every day I play for England is a bonus."

He hopes to reproduce the purple patch he enjoyed on the last Sri Lanka tour.

"It was incredible to come back to win the series last time and was certainly one of the greatest achievements I have had playing for England," he said.

"I have very good memories of playing here, and am very proud of my role in that series, but we all start again on nought unfortunately."

Thorpe's main task will be to nullify Muralitharan.

"Obviously Murali is a big player for Sri Lanka and we have to have ideas as to how we are going to play against him," he said.

"He can quite easily get you out early, but if you can get used to him you can survive, so the important thing to do is to try and hang in there at the start.

"Fortunately, we have a few decent left-handers in the top six and, hopefully, one of us will be able to score big runs against him."