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December 3, 2007
Muttiah Muralitharan has become the leading wicket-taker in Test cricket after breaking Shane Warne's record of 708 Test wickets. Murali dismissed Paul Collingwood during England's first innings in Kandy to take his 709th wicket.
Murali achieved the record in his 116th Test and on his home ground, which had been eagerly awaiting the historic moment over the first two days of the Test. After a difficult tour of Australia, where he managed four wickets in two matches, Murali closed in on the milestone with four wickets during the second day.
He drew level with Warne when he had Ravi Bopara caught down the leg side on the second afternoon, but was forced to wait for the crucial wicket through a mixture of rain, which forced the players off on Sunday afternoon, and stubborn English resistance. It took him until his 10th over of the day to squeeze out the cherished scalp as Collingwood and Ryan Sidebottom offered stubborn resistance. Finally, though, in his second spell of the day be bowled Collingwood with a doosra and the ground erupted.
It is the third time Murali has held the wicket-taking record, having originally passed Courtney Walsh in 2004 before briefly sharing the mark with Shane Warne. He then claimed it outright for the second time against South Africa until a shoulder injury allowed Warne to move back to the top against India and Muralitharan has been chasing him since. This time there is no one close to knocking him off and with a tireless appetite for the game 1000 wickets is a possibility.
"Congratulations to Murali - he's been a wonderful player for a long period of time," Warne said. "He's an excellent competitor and has been great for Sri Lankan cricket. He's a great bloke too. He'll probably go on and get 1000 now but today I'd just like to say ' well done on the record '."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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