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Top Performer of Day 1, 1st Test - India in Sri Lanka

Muttiah Muralitharan
Muttiah Muralitharan

Born:17 April 1972, Kandy
Major Teams:Tamil Union Cricket and Athletic Club, Lancashire, Sri Lanka.
Known As:Muttiah Muralitharan
Batting Style:Right Hand Bat
Bowling Style:Right Arm Off Break
Match pictures:
Muttiah Muralitharan
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Match Stats - Bowling

1st Test

India in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka v India
[ Scorecard | Report]
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Sri Lanka took on India at the Galle International Stadium, Galle, on Tuesday in the first match of the three Test series. Sanath Jayasuriya did not hesitate to elect to bat first after winning the toss on a pitch full of grass. The Sri Lankan skipper had bolstered his bowling attack by including four seamers.

India was a bit too cautious to start with as Shiv Sunder Das and Sadagoppan Ramesh played sensibly to take the score 79 in the 42nd over. They defied the pace of Chaminda Vaas, Dilhara Fernando, Suresh Perera and Ruchira Perera, to accumulate the runs. Boundaries were a rare commodity as the Sri Lankan bowlers denied free hits.

After having won the toss and failed to take a wicket in 42 overs is something that worried the Sri Lankan skipper a lot. He brought about the bowling changes but to no avail. The Indian openers stood strong. Jayasuriya knew whom to call upon to deliver the goods in troubled time, Muttiah Muralitharan.

Muralitharan struck the first big blow by removing Ramesh (42). A well flighted delivery outside the off stump beat the intended drive by Ramesh and Jayasuriya who had placed himself at short cover took an easy catch.

Muralitharan tied the batsmen down with some tight and attacking bowling and the pressure told when Das (40) gave an easy catch to Jayasuriya at first slip off the bowling of Chaminda Vaas.

Rahul Dravid looked to be in commanding touch and along with Kaif set out on mastering the Lankan attack. Dravid is the key batsman in the Indian line up, given the absence of Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman. Muralitharan did the trick again. A well-flighted delivery lured Dravid to charge down the track and play the ball across the line. Dravid closed the face of the bat a bit too early, the inside edge to the pads lobbed up to Russel Arnold at silly point and India had lost one of their main batsmen.

They great wall of Indian defence was breached and allowed Fernando to pick up the wickets of Mohd Kaif (37) and Badani (6) with the second new ball. Muralitharan did upset the Indian skipper with a few balls that jumped and turned away from him. At close of play India were 163/5, Sri Lanka clearly taking the advantage of the first day. One need not look any further for the Top Performer of the day. Muttiah Muralitharan made all the difference on a pitch that was meant to support the faster bowlers.

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