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Murali run-out leaves Lanka fuming
December 09, 2006 13:04 IST
A controversial run out of Muttiah Muralitharan, who was dismissed as he went to congratulate centurion Kumar Sangakkara, overshadowed New Zealand's first Test win over Sri Lanka in Christchurch.
The Kiwis reached their victory target of 119 for the loss of five wickets on Saturday after the tourists were skittled for 170 in their second innings on day three at Jade Stadium.
But the reaction to Muralitharan's dismissal tempered New Zealand's celebrations with Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene questioning the spirit of wicketkeeper Brendon McCullum's decision to break the stumps.
Sangakkara reached his 11th test century when he guided the ball to third man for a single but Muralitharan left his ground as Chris Martin returned the ball to McCullum.
He appealed and South African umpire Brian Jerling gave Muralitharan out with the ball not yet dead and the off-spinner walking to the bowler's end before the completion of the over to end the Sri Lanka innings and leave Sangakkara stranded on 100.
"The whole team is disappointed," Jayawardene told reporters, adding he would not pursue the matter further.
"Legally it was a run out, the ball was alive but we play in an age where we talk about the spirit of the game. Hopefully it won't happen again. It's not the way to play cricket.
New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming, who was dismissed for a three-ball duck in the nervous run chase, said he was happy with McCullum's actions.
"I'm comfortable with it, the game doesn't stop because someone gets a hundred. It's a mistake in judgment from Muralitharan.
"In one sense it's disappointing because it takes the gloss off one of the great hundreds I've seen. It would have been a tragedy if he'd been run out for 99."
McCullum was unrepentant about the dismissal, saying a player as experienced as Muralitharan should know better.
"After 109 test matches you know better than to walk out of your ground to celebrate a guy's hundred when the ball's still alive," McCullum said.
"I realise they're pretty upset about it but as far as I'm concerned it was an opportunity to take a wicket. I'd do the same thing again."
The second and final test starts at Wellington's Basin Reserve on Dec 15.