Thursday, July 22, 2010

800 and Gone

India vs Sri Lanka, 2010, 1st Test, Galle.
Muttiah Muralitharan had announced that he would be retiring after this match. The all time highest wicket taker was 8 short of 800 wickets. And as I had predicted in my previous post, he did take those 8 wickets. Pragyan Ojha, whatever he may go on to do in his cricketing career will always be remembered as Murali's 800th and last test victim. The landmark was reached in almost perfect manner possible. Ojha was the last Indian batsman dismissed. India had a very small lead which the Lankan openers reached without any trouble.
Murali's fairytale retirement marks the end of a legendary test career. No other bowler may probably even come close to his tally of wickets. (There was a column in cricinfo which showed how much better he was over other bowlers). He was one of the major reasons in making Sri Lanka the force they are now in world cricket. He had his controversial moments. The chucking allegations never went away since he was no-balled in Australia. He was labelled a chucker though tests proved otherwise. In fact his bowling probably improved after the allegations. But off the field there was never any single controversy. 
Muralitharan will not bowl in Tests ever again. The unorthodox action will not be seen nor will those bulging eyes. Time to bid adieu to a true legend of the game. That there was more interest in whether he would reach the 800 mark than if India could save the match shows the level of respect for him. In fact many Indians (yours truly included) wished for rain to help save India the Test but only after Murali had got the 2 wickets to reach to 800.
Goodbye Muralitharan.

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