Muralitharan told to carry on his career

Published: Wednesday, May 31, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Nottingham:Muttiah Muralitharan has been told to keep his remarkable career going for as long as possible by Sri Lanka team-mate Michael Vandort.

Off-spin great Muralitharan has said in the build-up to this week's third Test that he is determined to "go out in England on a high", suggesting that the match, at Nottingham's Trent Bridge ground, might be the 34-year-old's final Test appearance in England.

"Murali is a character, you never know what his mind says. Maybe he'll tell the press this is his last match (in England) but you may find him here in a few years time again, you wouldn't be surprised," Vandort said.

"He's that kind of character, the more he plays the better for us," he also told reporters at Trent Bridge on Wednesday.

Muralitharan, who will be nearing 40 by the time of Sri Lanka's next tour of England, took 10 for 115 in the second Test at Edgbaston.

But he subsequently labelled his haul, which took him to 624 Test wickets, a "wasted effort" as England won the match, with more than a day to spare, by six wickets to go 1-0 up in the three-Test series after the opener at Lord's was drawn.

Another positive for Sri Lanka was the second innings performance of Vandort. The 26-year-old left-handed opener batted for six-and-a-half hours to score 105, his second Test hundred in what was only his fifth Test.

The longstanding opening partnership of Sanath Jayasuriya and Marvan Atapattu had blocked the progress of Vandort, who scored his other Test hundred against Bangladesh in 2001.

"It was tougher conditions than against Bangladesh and I really enjoyed it," said Vandort of his marathon century.

"Throughout the tour conditions have been difficult, the ball has been seaming or it has been cold.

"But the guys have adapted really well. They haven't complained about it. Early summer, we knew it was going to be cold."

A back injury to Atapattu and the fact that Jayasuriya was not included in the original Test squad for this tour helped to give Vandort a fresh chance.

But a pair against England A early in the tour was the last thing Vandort needed and he was left out of the first Test at Lord's, where former skipper and fellow left-hander Jayasuriya flew in having reversed his Test retirement.

But the 36-year-old was overlooked at Edgbaston, although Jayasuriya could feature somewhere in the order at Trent Bridge after Thilan Samaraweera's double failure in Birmingham.

"If Sanath comes in, good for him but the tour management will take that decision," Vandort said.

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