Thatscricket - News - Cricket: Muralis wickets puts India on the back foot
Published: Monday, August 6, 2001, 23:53 [IST]
Colombo: He is repeatedly described by the commentators as wily fox. Off spinner Muthiah Muralitharan unleashed all his wile and guile to flummox the Indian batsmen on the first day of the series-deciding third Test at the Sinhalese Sports Club ground on Wednesday. India was bowled out for 234 with Murali claiming eight wickets conceding 87 runs.India, perching at a strong 91 for no loss at lunch, came crumbling down in the last two sessions of the day to hand Sri Lanka back the advantage. Murali was at the helm of all the damage though he had the lucky hand of South African umpire David Orchard in the dismissal of Saurav Ganguly.Though the lucky wicket of Ganguly should not undermine the efforts of Murali, who used all the tricks in his bag. Great bowlers get big wickets and Murali like the cat among the pigeons was among all the top Indian batsmen.The game took a dramatic turn in the post lunch session when India lost three quick wickets. Apart from the first wicket partnership of 97 runs, the Indians could not muster any useful partnership. When Chaminda Vaas had Harbhajan plumb in front of the wicket, India lost any chance of a respectable score.Till Murali began to turn the ball, almost square, the wicket looked a real beauty and the Indian openers didnt encounter any trouble in the first session of play. Openers Shiv Sundar Das and Sadagopan Ramesh seem to justify skipper Saurav Gangulys decision to bat first as they played with a lot of calm and elan.Das reached his sixth half-century and played some fine shots during his stay at the wicket. Showing very positive signs, the Indian openers did not get unduly bogged down and played the bowling on its merit. That was until Murali came up with his magic effort.Chaminda Vaas also reached the milestone of 150 Test wickets when he had Mohammed Kaif caught behind by wicket-keeper Kumara Sangakkara. The last recognised batting pair of Rahul Dravid (21) and Hemang Badani (6) was at the crease.But, Ganguly seems to be destined to be the victim of shocking decisions from the umpires. Ganguly strode down the wicket two paces and took Murali on the pads. The Sri Lankans went up in a chorus of appeal. Umpire David Orchard quickly raised his finger much to the consternation of the Indian skipper.It is horrendous, shocking, shrieked TV commentator and former India opener Navjot Sidhu. But, the damage had been done and India was reduced to 119 for three. Repeated TV replays showed that Ganguly was struck well outside the off stump.