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February 5, 2009
Muttiah Muralitharan has become the highest wicket-taker in one-day internationals, going past Pakistan fast bowler Wasim Akram's haul of 502 wickets, in the fourth ODI against India in Colombo. Murali started his 328th match level with Akram and dismissed Gautam Gambhir in his 10th over for the record.
Murali, 36, is also the highest wicket-taker in Tests, with 769 wickets in 125 matches. The last person to simultaneously hold the record for most Test and ODI wickets was the former Indian captain Kapil Dev.
The record came with his 17650th legal delivery. Murali floated the ball outside off stump to induce a thin edge from Gambhir. He turned around to look at his old team-mate Kumar Dharmasena, now an umpire, who raised his finger. Muralitharan then jogged towards the catcher Kumar Sangakkara, who patted him on his back before enveloping him with a hug. The rest of the Sri Lankans joined in the huddle but the celebration was muted.
Murali dedicated the record to his family for their constant encouragement. "They are great supporters of mine, and have stood by me through the bad times and the good." He also said the feat was a great achievement for Sri Lanka "because we are not a great cricket-playing nation, we are a smaller nation compared to others".
Akram, the man whose record was broken, led the tributes to Murali." I noticed his progress in 2003 and realised he was the only man who could break my record," he told AFP. "At times I jokingly told him not to play one-day cricket, so that my record would remain intact, but he is relentless in taking wickets. I am happy that a bowler of his calibre has broken my record.
"No matter what type of surface he has played on, no matter in which country, and against which team ... he is simply great and more than a good bowler, he is a good human being."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Plays of the day from the IPL match between Chennai Super Kings and Kings XI Punjab in Abu Dhabi