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July 12, 2007
Muttiah Muralitharan described his performance of taking a century of wickets at Asgiriya International Stadium as 'a tremendous achievement in a long career'.
"I have already taken a hundred wickets in two other venues at Galle and SSC this is the third. It is not easy to take 100 wickets in each venue. Not many people have done it," said Muralitharan who finished off the Bangladesh first innings for 131 by taking his 59th five-for in an innings with figures of 6 for 28.
Murali started the Test requiring four wickets to reach a hundred wickets at this venue. He had taken two wickets overnight and when play resumed after a delay of 30 minutes Murali quickly finished off the Bangladesh innings capturing four of the remaining six wickets for 18 runs in 5.5 overs.
When questioned about the opposition he was bowling against Murali retorted: "A Test wicket is a Test wicket. The ICC has given Bangladesh Test status. They have some good players. Although I have been getting a lot of wickets against them the majority of them are not bad players against spin."
"Bangladesh cricket in on a learning curve. They are taking longer than any other country. We have to give them the opportunity. Then only can they improve. Otherwise if they stop playing Test cricket and play one-day cricket they won't adjust to the system. They should play more four-day cricket with 'A' teams against other nations. When you get beaten so often very badly it also demoralizes them," he said.
Murali edged closer to Shane Warne's world record-tally of 708 Test wickets with his six-wicket haul today taking his overall tally to 694 Test wickets, leaving him 15 wickets shy of Warne's mark.
Murali expressed doubts when he would pass Warne's figure. There is a lot of expectation that he may do it in Australia when Sri Lanka tour there in November, but Murali said: "With the present weather conditions I don't know whether I will get a bowl in the second innings. It's never going to be easy to get 15 wickets in two Test matches in Australia. They won't have Warne so it's going to be seamer-friendly wickets. Maybe I will achieve the world record against Australia or against England. Sooner or later I will pass him. I have a few more years left in cricket so definitely I will reach the record and go beyond that."
Murali has 20 wickets in the on-going Test series against Bangladesh and will be expected to play a big role if Sri Lanka is to win the third and final Test and make a clean 3-0 sweep of the series. "We can pull off a win here because the score Bangladesh achieved in their first innings is too less. It's a very poor score for a Test match. If we have good weather in the next three days we can make a good score and I expect the pitch to do something here than at the SSC and the Sara Stadium. The pitch helps a little bit more for seamers and spinners," he said.
Sri Lanka finished a rain ruined second day at 30 without loss and trail Bangladesh by 101 runs. dium.
What's wrong with their cricket? Well, what isn't?