Warne - 'I'm proud of my efforts'
Shane Warne expressed his mixed feelings at the end of the drawn second Test against Sri Lanka at Cairns, after drawing level with Muttiah Muralitharan's world record of 527 wickets. He admitted he was proud to have achieved such a feat, but added that Murali was likely to pull away from him over the course of the next few months.
"It's a pretty proud moment for my parents, who are sitting up here in the crowd. They have had a tough time over the past couple of years," said Warne, who was banned for 12 months last year for the use of a banned diuretic, prior to the World Cup. "It would have been nice to get one or two ahead of him, and to win the Test would have been the perfect script, I suppose."
Instead, Sri Lanka dug in to reach the close of play on 183 for 8, and despite bowling 37 overs off the reel, Warne was unable to claim the record for himself. He later accepted that he may never now hold the outright title.
"I'm proud of myself to equal the record," said Warne. "The wickets I have always played on for my whole career, most of them have been to suit fast bowlers in Australia. In Sri Lanka, they obviously prepare wickets that suit him. They spin square from ball one, so he's obviously got a lot more of a chance than I have."
Sri Lanka now host South Africa for two Tests in August, although Warne has a chance to reply on Australia's four-Test tour of India, which starts in October. "Who knows what the future holds? The likelihood is [Murali] is probably going to get it and keep it, and that's fine. As long as we keep winning, I'll be pretty happy."
Warne went on record prior to the series as saying he thought Murali was "thin-skinned" to pull out of this series, and he repeated that accusation after the match. "I get heckled from my own crowds sometimes. If he's got a problem with my opinion, he can sort it out with me if he wants to. But I've always got along fine with him. I think he's done wonderful things for Sri Lanka and I'm sure he will continue to do that."
Marvan Atapattu, Sri Lanka's captain, was pleased with the spirit that his side showed during a tough Test match. "The way we came back from when they were 370 for 2 at the end of the first day, this is not a bad result at all," he said. "The way the team has fought during this tour, I am very happy about it."
Atapattu singled out his tailenders, Nuwan Zoysa and Chaminda Vaas, for particular praise, after they had dug in to deny Warne the record, and Australia the match. "I thought the team showed more courage than when the Aussies were in Sri Lanka [in March]. We have guys who can bat down to No. 10 so I was quite confident, although I'd be lying if I said we were relaxed. We were cheering every ball at the end."