Muttiah Muralitharan just missed out on a historic 10-wicket haul as Sri Lanka crushed England by 134 runs in the third and final Test to level the series 1-1 at Edgbaston here on Monday.
The home side, set a record 325 to win on a dry, wearing pitch, collapsed from 84 without loss to 190 all out on the fourth day. Off-spinner Muralitharan finished with eight for 70 off 30 overs, a spell which was only interrupted by tea.
He looked on course to join fellow spinners Jim Laker of England and Anil Kumble of India as the only men to take 10 wickets in a Test innings. But after dismissing the first seven batsmen, his chance evaporated when Matthew Hoggard was brilliantly run out by a direct throw from Charmara Kapugedera.
Muralitharan struck again to remove Jon Lewis but the last wicket then fell to Sanath Jayasuriyaâ€™s left-arm spin. At one stage Murali took four for seven in 31 balls, including the scalps of England captain Andrew Flintoff and Kevin Pietersen in the same over. In 69 balls before tea his figures were six for 13.
Englandâ€™s openers dealt with the new ball attack well enough but things changed dramatically after 27 overs when Marcus Trescothick became Muralitharanâ€™s first victim, out for 31 after falling to a â€œdoosraâ€.
Alastair Cook never looked comfortable. He was given one life, dropped behind off Jayasuriya, but only contributed five before he was bamboozled by a straight ball from Muralitharan which trapped him lbw.
Opener Andrew Strauss, like Trescothick, looked well organised, cashing in on anything loose as he drove seamer Chaminda Vaas for two fours in an over on his way to a top score of 55. But he also fell to a Muralitharan doosra, making it 111 for three. Pietersen (6) and Flintoff (0) were soon trudging back to the pavilion as well, England slumping to 120-5.
Paul Collingwood (9) was also caught cheaply in the same position. After tea, Muralitharan returned to bowl Geraint Jones before the fateful Hoggard run-out which denied the spinner the chance of all 10 wickets.
He made it eight when he had Lewis lbw but chances of career-best figures were wrecked by England number 11 Panesar (28), who slogged a series of boundaries including a six. Earlier yesterday, Sri Lanka, resuming on 286 for seven, lost their last three wickets in the first hour while adding 36 runs.
Sri Lanka won toss
Sri Lanka 1st inns 231
England 1st inns 229 (K P Pietersen 41, P D Collingwood 48)
Sri Lanka 2nd inns (overnight 286-7)
M G Vandort b Hoggard 5
W U Tharanga c Cook b Panesar 46
â€ K C Sangakkara c Trescothick b Flintoff 66
*D P M D Jayawardene c Jones b Plunkett 45
S T Jayasuriya lbw b Panesar 4
T M Dilshan c Jones b Hoggard 32
C K Kapugedera c Cook b Plunkett 50
M F Maharoof b Panesar 6
W P U J C Vaas not out 34
S L Malinga b Panesar 22
M Muralitharan c Strauss b Panesar 2
Extras (b1, lb3, w1, nb5) 10
Total (all out, 113.1 overs) 322
Fall: 1-6, 2-100, 3-143, 4-148, 5-191, 6-223, 7-238, 8-287, 9-320
Bowling: Hoggard 22-4-71-2; Lewis 20-6-54-0; Flintoff 13-1-38-1 (2nb); Panesar 37.1-13-78-5; Plunkett 19-2-65-2 (3nb, 1w); Pietersen 2-0-12-0
England 2nd inns
M E Trescothick b Muralitharan 31
A J Strauss c Jâ€™wardene b Mâ€™tharan 55
A N Cook lbw b Muralitharan 5
K P Pietersen c Dilshan b Mâ€™itharan 6
P D Collingwood c Dilshan b Mâ€™tharan 9
*A Flintoff c Dilshan b Mâ€™tharan 0
â€ G O Jones b Muralitharan 6
L E Plunkett not out 22
M J Hoggard run out (Kapugedera) 4
J Lewis lbw b Muralitharan 7
M S Panesar lbw b Jayasuriya 26
Extras (b13, lb1, w1, nb4) 19
Total (all out, 68.5 overs) 190
Fall: 1-84, 2-104, 3-111, 4-120, 5-120, 6-125, 7-132, 8-136, 9-153
Bowling: Vaas 9-1-28-0 (1nb); Malinga 7-0-24-0 (1nb, 1w); Muralitharan 30-10-70-8 (2nb); Jayasuriya 22.5-3-54-1
Result: Sri Lanka won by 134 runs
Series: 3-Test series drawn at 1-1
Man of the Match: Muttiah Muralitharan
Players of the Series: Muttiah Muralitharan and Kevin Pietersen
Test debut: Jon Lewis (England)
Umpires: D B Hair (Australia) and R E Koertzen (South Africa). TV umpire: P J Hartley. Match referee: A G Hurst (Australia)
Previous matches: May 11-15 1st Test Lordâ€™s, match drawn. May 25-28 2nd Test Birmingham, England won by 6 wickets.
Source:The NewsMore on:Edgbaston, england, Muttiah Muralitharan, Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka in England 2006
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