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Muralitharan hurt as Australia beat Sri Lanka
January 15, 2003 18:36 IST
Sri Lanka off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan suffered a thigh muscle injury as Australia scored a four-wicket win in their triangular one-day series international on Wednesday.
Sri Lanka, who won the toss and batted, scored 211 for nine in 50 overs, including four run-outs. Australia replied with 214 for six in 48.5 overs.
The win puts Australia on 27 points from six matches ahead of England on 14 and Sri Lanka on 13. Each side has two more games before the best-of-three finals start on January 23.
Muralitharan, who is his country's leading bowler and key attacking weapon for next month's World Cup in southern Africa, took three wickets in eight overs before suffering what early television reports described as a quadriceps muscle strain in his left leg while chasing a ball in the outfield.
The 30-year-old limped off Brisbane's Gabba ground in the 39th over. He returned two overs later and bowled off a short run to claim a fourth wicket for figures of 4-27.
Man of the match Michael Bevan (45 not out from 79 balls) paced Australia's innings after Matthew Hayden (42), Darren Lehmann (38) and Jimmy Maher (30) all made useful scores.
Australia had appeared to be cruising to their fifth win from six matches in the triangular series, which includes England, when suddenly Muralitharan struck.
Openers Hayden and Maher and Damien Martyn (1) fell to Muralitharan as Australia lost 4-24 after being 76 without loss.
Lehmann and Bevan added 72 in a patient fifth wicket partnership knowing that they were only chasing a modest target.
Lehmann's run-out in the 40th over made the game a contest again, however, as Muralitharan bowled with a limp for his final two overs, dismissing all-rounder Shane Watson for four in the 44th over.
Watson's wicket was Muralitharan's 304th, taking him to outright third on the all-time list, one ahead of India's Anil Kumble and behind Pakistan pair Wasim Akram on 490 and Waqar Younis on 409.
Australia spinner Brad Hogg, who had taken 2-38, kept a cool head to score 14 not out from 15 balls. Bevan hit a boundary to long-on off Aravinda de Silva to seal the win with seven balls to spare.
Earlier, Sri Lanka opener Marvan Atapattu hit 70 and put on 112 runs for the fourth wicket with Mahela Jayawardene, who made 56.
Sri Lanka lost three early wickets for 35 runs and later six wickets for 54 runs. Captain Sanath Jayasuriya (6) was among the run-outs after scores of 122 and 106 in his past two matches.
Wicketkeeper Kumar Sangakkara, who was the only other Sri Lanka batsman to reach 20, scored a valuable 42 not out from 42 balls including successive boundaries over Watson's head in the 50th over.
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