Murali aiming for five-wicket haul at Lord~~s

Published: Thursday, May 11, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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London:Muttiah Muralitharan wants to mark his first Test appearance at Lord's by taking five wickets in an innings for Sri Lanka against England and getting his name on the dressing room honours board.

"It might surprise you but in my 103-Test career I have never played at Lord's. This week I will get my chance to play there and I'm very excited about it," the off-spinner said ahead of the start of Thursday's first Test.

"I'm relishing all three of the Tests we have scheduled in England on this tour. I'm looking forward to this match in particular because I have a dream of taking five wickets in an innings at Lord's.

"It would be a very special moment for me," he told the bigstarcricket.com website.

"I was injured on the 2002 tour when Sri Lanka played there, we only had one Test in 1998 when we played at The Oval and in 1991 I wasn't picked. I had to wait until the following year to make my Test debut.

"I have played at Lord's a few times in other forms of cricket. I took nine wickets on the ground for Kent against Middlesex in 2003 and I have played three One-day Internationals there, and I took five wickets in one of those (10-0-34-5 in 1998) so at least the signs are good for me."

Murali missed Sri Lanka's final warm-up match, the 10-wicket defeat by England 'A' at Worcester last week, because of a family bereavement.

"I had to return home for my aunt's funeral - she was my father's sister. It was a very tiring few days and I was sorry not to be with my team but family is more important than cricket," he said.

"To lose by 10 wickets was unfortunate but we are not too down because of that result. It was a very seaming wicket and even the England team did not score all that many in the game and struggled a lot. Hopefully, we will get a better wicket at Lord's."

Muralitharan, who has taken 611 Test wickets, said he was looking forward to playing against England captain Andrew Flintoff - a teammate from his time with Lancashire.

"He will be the most important wicket for us as far as I'm concerned because when he gets going it is very difficult for anybody to stop him. After the match, we will be good mates again."

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