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Rediff News  All News  » Sports » Images: Murali's feat sets up Sri Lanka win

Images: Murali's feat sets up Sri Lanka win

Last updated on: July 22, 2010 18:21 IST

Image: Muttiah Muralitharan walks on to the field during the fifth day of the first Test
Photographs: Reuters

Muttiah Muralitharan walked in to the field for one last time as India started the day 181 for five, still requiring 63 runs to avoid the humiliation of an innings defeat, on day five of the first Test in Galle.

- Congratulate Muralitharan

The wily spinner, playing his final Test, took five for 63 in the first innings and then claimed the wicket of Yuvraj Singh in the second innings on Wednesday with the final delivery of the day to put the Lankans high in the saddle.

The 38-year-old spin legend went on to sign off with 800 Test wickets as Sri Lanka beat India by ten wickets. The leading wicket-taker in Tests and one-day internationals dismissed Pragyan Ojha to reach the milestone in a fitting finale to a brilliant career, with his family cheering him on from the stadium stands.

Malinga provides the big blow

Image: Lasith Malinga celebrates after picking up MS Dhoni

While all eyes were on Murali and his 800th wicket, it was Lasith Malinga who gave Sri Lanka the early breakthrough.

Malinga castled India skipper M S Dhoni with a peach of a yorker, as India lost the first wicket of the day as early as the second over. Dhoni could only manage four runs to his name.

Murali picks Harbhajan

Image: Muttiah Muralitharan celebrates with team-mates after picking Harbhajan Singh

As the day began, all the eyes were on Murali picking up the 800th wicket and he inched closer when he dismissed Harbhajan Singh. It was Murali's 799th wicket, as the Indian off-spinner played a rash shot and was caught plumb in front of the stumps.

Debutant Abhimanyu Mithun then joined VVS Laxman and frustrated Lankans, who were looking to finish off the game before lunch.

Mithun cut a short delivery from Muralitharan through point and then played the final delivery fine for two boundaries in the 70th over.

He repeated the dose again on Muralitharan with another couple of boundaries in his next over. First, he danced down the wicket to the Sri Lankan spin wizard lofting him down the ground and a few deliveries produced a cracking cover drive for his fourth boundary.

The duo added 49 runs for the eight wicket before Mithun was undone by yet another yorker from Malinga to give him his fifth wicket.

Mathews's brilliance sends Laxman back

Image: Angelo Mathews celebrates after Laxman's dismissal

As the Lankans pressed for victory, Laxman stood in their way with stubborn half-century. He first shared a partnership with Mithun and then was involved in a 68-run stand with Ishant Sharma for the ninth wicket.

But Laxman ran himself out against the run of play.

Mathews's throw came in flat and found Laxman short of his crease marginally.

Laxman scored 69 runs, inclusive of five hits to the fence.

Murali scalps 800 Test victims

Image: Muralitharan reacts after dismissing Pragyan Ojha, his 800th wicket

Muralitharan signed off in style, dismissing Pragyan Ojha. It was his 800th wicket in Test cricket.

Playing his final Test, he had Ojha caught at first slip for 13.

The 38-year-old boasts of an amazing tally of 800 wickets from 138 Tests, at an average of 22.72, with 67 five-wicket hauls and 22 10-wicket hauls.

Former Australia leg-spinner Shane Warne is a distant second, with 708 wickets, and former India leggie Anil Kumble is third, with 619 wickets.

Ishant Sharma was unbeaten after a dogged 31 from 106 balls as India were bowled out for 338 in 115.4 overs, setting Sri Lanka a target of 95 for victory.

Muralitharan took three for 128 in the second innings for wonderful match figures of eight for 191.

Dilshan powers Lanka past finish line

Image: Tillakaratne Dilshan

The late order fightback by India not only frustrated the hosts but also helped India avoid the ignominy of an innings defeat.

Needing just 95 for victory and with the rain clouds looming, Sri Lankan openers Tillakaratne Dilshan (68 not out) and Tharanga Paranavitana (23 not out) showed great urgency.

They raced to the target (96 for no loss) in 14.1 overs as Dilshan clobbered Harbhajan Singh for a mighty six to help Sri Lanka take a 1-0 lead in the series.

This is Sri Lanka's seventh 10-wicket win overall and their second against India.