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November 3, 2007
Australia and Sri Lanka's two-Test series will be fought for a trophy named after Shane Warne and Muttiah Muralitharan. Cricket Australia accepted Sri Lanka Cricket's suggestion that the winner of the contest, which begins in Brisbane on Thursday, should be awarded the Warne-Muralitharan Trophy to commemorate 25 years of Test cricket between the two sides.
The trophy is a fitting tribute for two of the world's best spin bowlers. Muralitharan is just nine wickets away from surpassing Warne's record of 708 Test wickets. The announcement celebrates the 25th anniversary of Australia-Sri Lanka Test cricket, with the trophy featuring casts of Warne and Muralitharan's right hands and match-used cricket balls bowled by both players during their careers.
Sri Lanka Cricket's chief executive Duleep Mendis said it was a fitting tribute to two players who have left an indelible mark on world cricket. "We are proud of the rivalry between our nation and Australia," he said, "and think this trophy will help add to the sense of occasion every time we do battle."
Cricket Australia's chief executive James Sutherland echoed these sentiments: "Both Shane and Muttiah have broken the 700-wicket barrier and inspired young cricketers around the world to try their hands at spin bowling. We see the inception of this trophy as yet another step in celebrating the wonderful history between both nations while continuing to build its stature in the years to come."
Warne said he felt very proud to be sharing the honour with Muralitharan. "We've had some great battles in the past and helped raise each other's game to the heights that we've reached," Warne said. "The rivalry between Australia and Sri Lanka has grown immeasurably over the last decade and I know my former Australian teammates will be super-keen to be the first country to win the trophy when they do battle this November."
Muralitharan said the respect was mutual: "I have enormous respect for Shane Warne," he said, "and I consider it a great honour to have a trophy named after both of us. The coming Test series is a great opportunity for our team against Australia and I'm looking forward to bowling in Australia again."
The Warne-Murali tharan Trophy becomes the latest series named after famous players. Australia's matches against India are fought for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy while Australia and New Zealand compete for the Chappell-Hadlee one-day title.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.