Murali to bounce back in tri-series final

Published: Monday, February 13, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
Share this on your social network:
   Facebook Twitter Google+    Comments Mail

Brisbane:Sri Lankan coach Tom Moody believes Muttiah Muralitharan will bounce back from the worst 10-over spell in limited-overs cricket history in the deciding triangular One-day series final here.

The champion spinner endured one of his most miserable days ever, returning 0-99 as Australia powered to its highest One-day international score of 368 for five and a 167-run win in the second tri-final in Sydney on Sunday.

Muralitharan also had to contend with a majority of the Australian crowd taunting him over his much-scrutinised bowling action, with calls of "chucker" and "no ball" every time he approached the bowling crease.

Moody is confident his beleaguered star will strike back in the third and deciding match of the series at the Gabba -- only the first time since 1994 that the Australian tri-series has required a third final.

"He's obviously disappointed," Moody said Monday. "He's a world-class performer and he likes to perform at his best all the time.

"This hasn't happened that often in his career.

"The opposition got the better of him, but knowing the character and knowing the quality of the person and the bowler, he'll bounce back."

The Sri Lankans must turn around a significant momentum shift in the series after centuries from skipper Ricky Ponting (124 off 127 balls) and man-of-the-match Andrew Symonds (151 off 127 balls) lifted the Australians to their massive 368 for five on Sunday.

Sri Lanka found it a far too difficult assignment and succumbed to be all out for 201 off just 36 overs.

The heavy defeat came after Sri Lanka's stunning 22-run win over Ponting's team in the opening final in Adelaide last Friday.

Muralitharan was shielded from the media on Monday and was unavailable for comment.

But former Sri Lankan skipper Arjuna Ranatunga urged him to stop playing in Australia because of the boorish crowd behaviour.

"If I had been the captain or manager I would have asked Murali to pack his bags and go home and take some rest as there is a limit to everything," Ranatunga said.

Moody said the tourists were eager to return to the Gabba after they performed strongly there earlier in the competition, when they beat South Africa by 94 runs.

As well as Murali, the Sri Lankans will be looking for a better return from their top four batsmen, who apart from Mahela Jayawardene (50 off 48 balls), failed to give them the platform to chase an unlikely win on Sunday.

Sanath Jayasuriya was out for a duck, Kumar Sangakkara scored 13 and skipper Marvan Atapattu made 24.

Russel Arnold hit out lustily at the death to finish unbeaten on 64 off 62 balls.

Write Comments