Sri Lanka v New Zealand, 1st Test, Galle, 3rd day

New Zealand won't collapse like Pakistan - Murali

Sa'adi Thawfeeq in Galle

August 20, 2009

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Muttiah Muralitharan gets a pat from Kumar Sangakkara after dismissing Tim McIntosh, Sri Lanka v New Zealand, 1st Test, Galle, 3rd day, August 20, 2009
Muttiah Muralitharan now holds the world record for most number of Test maidens © AFP
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Muttiah Muralitharan has said New Zealand are unlikely to collapse the way Pakistan did last month in Galle because they were fighting hard and also because the pitch, covered for long hours because of rain, was yet to dry and break up.

"What happened against Pakistan, we can't expect New Zealand also to collapse," Murali said. "Pakistan collapsed in three innings. Any international side won't collapse suddenly. Pakistan lost easily to us because they collapsed whereas New Zealand is putting up a fight.

Sri Lanka scored 452 and took eight New Zealand wickets for 281 over three truncated days of play in the first Test.

"The wicket is holding because of the rain, underneath there is still water, so it has become slow. We bowled well as a group and restricted them to 281 for 8. If we can get the remaining two wickets early and bat and give them a 300-350 run target to chase on last day it will be a good match."

Murali picked up three wickets from the 31 overs he bowled today. He also went past Shane Warne's record for most number of maidens in Test - with his seven today he now has 1762, one more than Warne. Murali said he was not aware of the record. "At the end of the day it's all numbers. I've enjoyed my cricket for the last 18 years, I want to enjoy one more year and go off on a high note. In the end you can be satisfied, once you get old you can say 'I have these records' that's the only satisfaction you get. At the end of the day the team wins are the one's that are most important."

He also said he had given up aiming for 1000 Test wickets since it would take him at least five years to achieve the feat. Last month he announced he would retire after the home series against West Indies next November. "I think youngsters have to come through. [Ajantha] Mendis is the youngest spinner and [Rangana] Herath is 30 years old. He can go on for another five to six years. If I go for another two to three years then Herath won't get much chance to play.

"Thousand wickets is the only thing I can achieve but it will take a lot of years because we play about seven to eight Tests a year. To take another 200 wickets it will take me another 30-35 Tests in about five years. It is not realistic for me to play for such a long time. I want to go off on a high note and retire properly."

Murali said he had increased his run up to few more paces to bowl quicker. "I am getting older now so you have to be a little bit quicker. A longer run up will help me to get better rhythm. I have been bowling with this run up for the past six or seven months."

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