Bravo, Murali!

On the last day of his last test match, Sri Lankan bowler Muttiah Muralitharan picked up his 800th test wicket, an unprecedented feat.

Of course, he’s been so far ahead of the field for so long that unprecedented doesn’t mean much, but it’s a nice round number to end the brilliant career of one of the most fun players to watch in cricket, whether he was batting or bowling.

Murali began the match against India (the first of a three-test series in Sri Lanka) on 792. Sri Lanka’s first innings total of 520 put the pressure on India, and Muralitharan only needed 17 overs to pick up 5 wickets. India was forced to follow on and drew out their second innings. Muralitharan required a staggering 44.4 overs for his final 3 wickets. Sri Lanka’s openers went on to seal the deal, easing Sri Lanka to a comfortable 10-wicket win. Here’s the scorecard.

Please share your favorite Murali memories below.

28 thoughts on “Bravo, Murali!

  1. The only thing that could have made this achievement better is if Murali had done it against the Aussies, and in front of John Howard ;) Too bad it came at India’s expense, but India’s bowling is a real concern. Contrast this to the Pakistan trio of Amer, Gul and Asif who wrecked Australia in such impressive fashion yesterday. Of course Pakistan’s batting is their weak link right now. Congratulations to Sri Lanka.

    A well-deserved milestone for the man who mostly remained humble, gracious and smiling in the face of some venomous hostility at times. It’s going to be difficult for anyone to beat this record anytime soon. More importantly, he made/makes his mark off the cricket pitch as well, with his charitable works.

    No specific memory, but I’ll always remember Murali’s eyes bulging as he comes in to bamboozle the batsman. I wonder why he decided to retire after the first Test and not after the series?

    I’m dreading the day Tendulkar and Dravid retire.

  2. Thank you so much Murali. Since you are such a superstar, google searches on “Murali” will return pages and pages of results for you. It helps me stay anonymous. You are my favorite cricketer!

  3. I don’t know much about cricket, but I’ve heard about this lion of bowling. Here are my questions: 1. How does Murali compare to Shoaib Akhtar? 2. Is Murali the greatest bowler of all-time?

    1. How does Murali compare to Shoaib Akhtar?

    It’s like comparing Joe Montana to Michael Vick. There really is no comparison.

    1. Is Murali the greatest bowler of all-time?

    If Murali had played for a team like Australia, he would certainly be in the short list of 3-4 players. Unfortunately, the Sri Lankan cricket team just does not get that kind of exposure.

    Speaking of Australia, who can forget the ‘no balling’ nonsense they pulled on Murali.

  4. Unless you are in the “Murali is a chucker” camp, like Bishen Bedi, who thinks Murali’s bowling action is suspect, then Murali is considered one of cricket’s greatest bowlers.

  5. What was Murali’s view on the LTTE? Couldn’t the Indian cricket team get Murali to play for them? He would have done this, but I suppose that Murali is so principled.

    Bravo, Murali. You’re an ambassador of peace for the good Sri Lankan people.

  6. In all this praise for Murali, let us not forget to give kudos to the Indian team for providing Murali’s brilliant career with a fairytale ending. And they made it look so natural too!

  7. it was the english and the ozzies that had a problem with murali. i think it was 99 or 98 when the team came to england. he is pure class. very very clever player. without a doubt he would be in an all time 11 team, no spinner is better.

    we are so lucky to live in a time to see a true great.

    and he always had a great smile on his face!!

  8. Vaat, asking me such personal questions and not even leaving a name? Come come.

    No, I’m not, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.

  9. Definitely the best off-spinner of his generation, heckled and abused by Australian fans and even their PM, on the receiving end of unfair calls by the arguably racist umpire Darrell Hair, modest and self-effacing in an era of superinflated egos and arrogance, Murali has always been a gentleman and the epitome of class. It was a pleasure to watch him bowl.

  10. @Vivek,

    I was hoping to hear a Sri Lankan voice in this south asian blog. The voices of Sinhalese and Moors are missing.

  11. Unless you are in the “Murali is a chucker” camp, like Bishen Bedi,

    I am SO in that camp….. (shutting up, not wanting to ruin the party)…

  12. I am SO in that camp….. (*shutting up, not wanting to ruin the party*)…

    The investigation of the Murali fiasco really showed that the then pervasive belief of the straight arm during delivery was just an optical illusion. If I recall correctly, videos that were analyzed in the aftermath of the Murali controversy showed that even McGrath, considered widely to have one of the purest and most economical of actions, flexes his arm noticeably at the point of delivering the ball. And the same is true of Gillespie, another bowler with a beautiful, seemingly straight-arm action. It really seems to me that persisting in calling Murali a chucker disregards actual empirical evidence in favor of an optical illusion.

  13. I thought according to that icon of intelligence MIA, Murali was getting “genocided”?

  14. rahul,

    the most depressing thing about the chucking ‘controversies’ was that no one was honest–even if you’re bowling a light-as-poddi tennis ball, your elbow flexes in a way you can intuitively grasp with a basic understanding of physics.

    His 7/30 in Sharjah 2000 against the masters of spin, the Indians, has to be my favorite memory though there are so many. And having taken even half the number of wickets, is there any player that can claim the same amount of friends? I think Bishan, his strike-rate of 80, sanctimonious attitude and monstrous paunch represent chagrin at having lived partly in the era of uncovered wickets and great bowlers and not having achieved much outside of motivation for cranky, verbal argy-bargy.

  15. I can’t speak on behalf of all Sinhala people or all sri lankans but I know for a fact that he is pretty close to a deity among all sri lankans.You should have seen all the facebook book updates of my sri lankan friends as soon as Murali got his 800 wicket!

    There is an issue that has been troubling me for last 10-15 years but I dare not ask any of my friends. It is about the Murali’s coach at St.Anthony’s college Katugastota who discovered Murali. Does he have super natural powers ? Murali’s action became a controversy after he started taking autralian wickets during middle of the 90′s.A panel of experts including doctor’s cleared Murali acton .Since he has a bended arm,to the naked eye ,it looks like he is chuckig but he is not.Surprising thing is that many of the ballers like McGrath or Gillespie who seems to have a clean action bends thier arms at delivery ,too.The limit was set for 13 degrees after the panel’s findings. So when St.Anthony’s coach found and mentored Murali in early 80s he must have had super human eye to distingush that this obvious chucker is not chucking .I know for fact that this technolgy did not exists in early 80s and even Sri Lanka national team did not have any access to such technology let alone an outstation high school team like St.Anthony. Murali is a great human being and has done a lot for Sri Lanka and Cricket.One of the unintended consequences of his legacy is that there will be lot of questionable action players will be able to survive in many levels.

  16. I liked Warne better, numerical obsessions aside, he was more charismatic and just all around fun. Murali seems like a nice enough bloke and he handled the mad hyperbole of the last test with great dignity. The fact that he is that popular within his own team, the opposition and the crowds is a great tribute in itself.

  17. “Ahhh… cricket.

    The other international sport that is too boring to watch.”

    The World Series is international?;)

  18. I think if we asked any batsman of the present era which bowler they feared most, the answer would be unanimous – Muralitharan of course.

    Let’s not forget that he has done so much for the tsunami-affected people in his home country, financing and building more than 1,000 houses for the displaced through his charity. Kudos and many hearty congratulations Muthiah Muralitharan. Or in Tamil, முத்தையா முரளிதரன் வாழ்க!

  19. The other international sport that is too boring to watch.

    Just a little less boring than the boring “sport” golf

  20. Not only his doosra uska pehla,doosra, teesra over ka chay chay ball hee illegal tha….Goodbye chuckerboy Enjoy robbing a legitimate cricket record