VB Series / Features

Australia v Sri Lanka, VB Series, Melbourne

A bad day at the office for Murali

The 67 runs Muttiah Muralitharan conceded in the first VB Series match against Australia is his second-most expensive figures in ODIs

S Rajesh

January 13, 2006

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Muttiah Muralitharan: not a performance to remember © Getty Images
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Even through their worst days on the field, Sri Lanka usually have one consolation: a tight ten-over spell by Muttiah Muralitharan, for whom conditions and assistance from the pitch seems to matter little. In the first match of the VB Series against Australia, though, the Sri Lankans didn't even have Murali's performance to fall back on. They got thrashed to the tune of 318 runs - which isn't that unusual in ODIs these days - but far more surprisingly, Murali returned figures of 10-1-67-0.

In all the spells he has bowled in his career, only once did he vanish for more runs - against Pakistan at Nairobi more than nine years ago, when he went for 73, but at least managed to pick up two wickets. Here, he wasn't even allowed that solace, and had it not been for a maiden over in his ninth, his figures would have looked even worse. Not surprisingly, Sri Lanka have lost all these matches - they look well on their way to defeat at Melbourne - and have conceded more than 300 in all but one of these games.

Murali's most expensive ODI spells
Versus Spell Venue and year Result
Pakistan 10-0-73-2 Nairobi, 1996 Lost by 82 runs
Australia 10-1-67-0 Melbourne, 2005-06 ?
New Zealand 10-1-62-1 Hamilton, 1995 Lost by 57 runs
Pakistan 10-0-61-1 Kimberley, 1998 Lost by 4 wickets
India 10-0-60-0 Taunton, 1999 Lost by 157 runs

It's interesting to note that Murali's top ten most expensive spells have all come overseas. The worst he performed at home was against Zimbabwe - when they used to be a force to reckon with - in 1998, when he conceded 55 from 10 overs.

S Rajesh is stats editor of Cricinfo

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S Rajesh Stats editor Every week the Numbers Game takes a look at the story behind the stats, with an original slant on facts and figures. The column is edited by S Rajesh, ESPNcricinfo's stats editor in Bangalore. He did an MBA in marketing, and then worked for a year in advertising, before deciding to chuck it in favour of a job which would combine the pleasures of watching cricket and writing about it. The intense office cricket matches were an added bonus.
Related Links
Players/Officials: Muttiah Muralitharan
Series/Tournaments: VB Series
Teams: Sri Lanka
Tournament Results
Australia v Sri Lanka at Brisbane - Feb 14, 2006
Australia won by 9 wickets (with 27 balls remaining)
Australia v Sri Lanka at Sydney - Feb 12, 2006
Australia won by 167 runs
Australia v Sri Lanka at Adelaide - Feb 10, 2006
Sri Lanka won by 22 runs
South Africa v Sri Lanka at Hobart - Feb 7, 2006
Sri Lanka won by 76 runs
Australia v South Africa at Sydney - Feb 5, 2006
Australia won by 57 runs
More results »
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