On this day in 2010: Muttiah Muralitharan hung up his boots with 800 Test wickets – Firstcricket News, Firstpost
On this very day in 2010, Sri Lanka spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan picked up 800 wickets in Test cricket. The moment was bittersweet as it was the final game of his Test career.
The spinner was eight wickets short of the record when the match between India and Sri Lanka began at Galle on 18 July. The hosts put up a massive total of 520, with both skipper Kumar Sangakkara and opener Tharanga Paranavitana slamming centuries.
When it was time for India to bat, Muralitharan wreaked havoc on the visitors’ batting line-up and claimed the wickets of Sachin Tendulkar, MS Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh, Pragyan Ojha and Abhimanyu Mithun. With his 67th fifer, Murali was on fire and needed just 3 more wickets to reach 800. India were bowled out for 276 and had to follow-on.
However, in the second innings, it seemed that Muralitharan would not be able to achieve the magical number. On the final day, the Sri Lankan legend still needed 2 wickets to create history. But the Indian team was already tottering at 181/5 at the start of the fifth day. The visitors were collapsing like a deck of cards not against Muralitharan, but his teammate Lasith Malinga. At one point, it seemed like Malinga would scalp the remaining wickets as well.
An unlucky run-out forced VVS Laxman back to the hut, reducing the options for Muralitharan to reach his aim. However, the spin legend kept trying his best, producing off-breaks and even the occasional doosra, like he was in his prime. At the end, Pragyna Ojha edged an offbreak to Mahela Jayawardene, who was standing at first slip. The batter wasted no time in grabbing his 77th catch off Muralitharan’s delivery. The stadium erupted in cheers as the legendary spinner rewrote the record books.
India were just able to give a target of 95 runs to the hosts. Paranavitana and Tillakaratne Dilshan cruised their side home to a 10-wicket victory. It was perhaps fitting that the spin legend’s last Test would see him claim the record for highest wicket-taker and also help his side clinch a decisive win.
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