On this day in 2010, Muttiah Muralitharan became the first and only player to take 800 Test wickets – a feat unlikely to be emulated.
Shane Warne is widely recognised as the best spinner, and indeed bowler, to have ever graced the game, but there’s one man who has taken 92 more Test wickets than the Australian leg-spinner in 12 fewer matches, and that is Sri Lankan off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan.
Controversy surrounding the legitimacy of his action followed him throughout his 18-year international career, but what was undeniable was his ability to deceive batsmen with his sharp turn on just about any pitch he was asked to play on.
When Muralitharan announced that the first Test between Sri Lanka and India in Galle would be his last, he gave himself one match to get the eight wickets required to reach the milestone. The then 38-year-old only had one wicket to his name going into day four after day two was a wash-out. He then proceeded to get a five-wicket haul as the Indians were asked to follow on.
When VVS Laxman was run out with one Indian wicket remaining on the final day, Murali had one chance to get that 800th. He got Pragyan Ojha to nick one to Mahela Jayawardene in the slips – a record 77th c Jayawardene b Muralitharan – and with that, the wicket. Rather poetically, his 800th wicket was his last ball in Test cricket.
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