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Top Performer of Day 1, 3rd 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
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Muttiah Muralitharan
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3rd Test - Day 1:
Muttiah Muralitharan
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3rd Test

Sri Lanka v India
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There are times when words are almost totally unnecessary. The first day’s play of the third and final Test match of the India Sri Lanka series was certainly one such occasion. Weaving a web of deceptive subtlety, Muthiah Muralitharan, arguably the world’s best off spinner knocked the stuffing out of the Indian batting. To say that Muralitharan was the top performer would be an understatement for he outshone every other individual by the proverbial country mile. And not just that, he easily outshone his opposite team even.

34.1 overs, 9 maidens, 87 runs and 8 wickets. That is a simply mind boggling analysis. On a first day wicket that did not turn or bounce alarmingly, Murali was able to make things happen. Yes, everyone expected him to have some degree of success. But to account for almost all the wickets that fell was a feat that deserves all the credit it gets. The joke on everyone’s lips was that Chaminda Vaas had actually ruined Murali’s party by picking two wickets!

In just the 14th over of the day the offspinner was introduced into the attack. And from then on he bowled unchanged for over thirty overs, relentlessly attacking the Indian batsmen. It was in the 34th over of the day, soon after lunch that Murali managed to get his foot in the door, deceiving Shiv Sunder Das totally to have him bowled.

From then on the wickets fell at regular intervals. The most crucial of them all was when Rahul Dravid fell. Having compiled 36 runs, Dravid looked to steady the Indian innings. Here’s what Muralitharan did:

Muralitharan to Dravid, OUT: full and on the pads, Dravid comes down the track and flicks the ball straight down the gullet of leg slip, soft dismissal here, Dravid making a start and failing to go on

If top order batsmen like Dravid could not stand up to Murali there was little hope for the tail. Barring Harbhajan Singh, who was dismissed by Vaas, the rest of the tail was mopped up by Muralitharan.

It was total dominance from the offspinner, a spell that set the tone of the Test match. By being so aggressive Muralitharan had stolen the initiative away from Ganguly. The fact that India had won the toss and put up almost 100 for the first wicket was wiped out

Muralitharan’s effort could be the difference between triumph and defeat. Not just this Test match, but the whole series.

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