England take lead despite Murali's world record

Published: Monday, December 3, 2007, 13:18 [IST]
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Kandy: Muttiah Muralitharan became Test cricket's leading wicket-taker on Monday even as England gained a valuable 93-run lead in the first cricket Test here.

England, replying to Sri Lanka's modest total of 188, carried their overnight score of 185-6 to 281 before being all out 15 minutes before lunch on the third day.

Sri Lanka were 2-0 in their second knock at the break with Sanath Jayasuriya on two and Michael Vandort still to open his account

Muralitharan, who had claimed four wickets on Sunday to equal retired Shane Warne's record tally of 708, bowled Paul Collingwood with the fourth ball of his second spell to overtake the Australian.

Some 6,000 fans at the Asgiriya stadium, including his Indian wife Madhimalan and former Sri Lankan captain Arjuna Ranatunga, rose to applaud the off-spinner as fire crackers burst in the stands.

Muralitharan had previously held the record briefly in 2004 when he overtook West Indian fast bowler Courtney Walsh's 519-wicket mark, before Warne surpassed him.

The Sri Lankan finished with 6-55 to claim his 61st five-wicket haul in an innings, already the highest by any bowler with Warne trailing a distant second with 37 such feats.

Collingwood and Ryan Sidebottom previously grabbed the spotlight by adding 57 for the seventh wicket that helped England take the lead.

The former made 42 before he became Muralitharan's record victim, while left-handed Sidebottom contributed 31.

Muralitharan, who took his 708th wicket before tea on Sunday before rain set in, bowled nine overs on the third morning without success as Collingwood and Sidebottom played him comfortably.

Sidebottom gave England the lead in the day's first over when he drove seamer Dilhara Fernando for a boundary and then flicked Muralitharan for another four to bring up his side's 200.

Collingwood, looking at ease against Muralitharan, cut the spinner for a boundary and even reverse swept him for three runs.

Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jaaywardene signalled the end of Muralitharan's first spell when he claimed the second new ball in the 81st over, the 19th of the morning.

The old ball had produced 52 runs in 18 overs on the third day with Sidebottom contributing 28 of them, including three fours.

Lasith Malinga broke the stand in his second over with the new ball when he forced Sidebottom to edge a low catch to wicket-keeper Prasanna Jayawardene.

Muralitharan removed Collingwood and had Matthew Hoggard stumped before Chaminda Vaas ended the innings by trapping James Anderson leg-before.

Brief Scores (at lunch, D-3):

Sri Lanka 188 and 2/0 Vs England 281 all out (Bell 83, Collingwood 45, Vaughan 37, Pietersen 31, Sidebottom 31; Murali 6 for 55, Vaas 2 for 76).


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