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Murali eyes another world record

January 23, 2009 22:10 IST

Sri Lanka spinner Muttiah Muralitharan will be within striking distance of another world record in the third and final one-day international against Pakistan on Saturday.

Muralitharan needs five more victims to become the highest wicket taker in one-dayers. He is already the highest wicket-taker in Tests with 769 victims in 125 matches.

The off-spinner, chasing Pakistani Wasim Akram's one-day record of 502 wickets, struck three times in Sri Lanka's series-levelling win in Karachi on Wednesday.

"It would be great to see Murali achieve this record but I think we are more focused on winning the match and the series," Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene told reporters.

"It would be a great milestone, it would be great if he gets another fiver tomorrow but I don't think there's any hurry for Murli and he has played enough cricket to realise what is more important."

Muralitharan, 36, has been plagued by controversy since making his international debut in 1992, his unorthodox bowling action coming under constant scrutiny.

He was called by the umpires twice for chucking on the tour of Australia in 1995-96 and again on the 1998-99 tour and had to undergo biomechanical tests before his action was cleared.

His "Doosra" delivery was reported by match referee Chris Broad after a successful home series against Australia in 2004 but the International Cricket Council cleared his action on medical grounds.

Jayawardene said Muralitharan, who has taken five wickets on 10 occasions in 323 ODIs, had not spoken about his milestone and was more focused on the match at hand.

"He knows his role and he knows what he needs to do tomorrow. We are going as a team to beat Pakistan," the skipper said.

Sri Lanka are expected to field an unchanged side, but Pakistan are likely to drop experienced fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar after his disappointing comeback in the first two ODIs where he conceded 88 runs for just one wicket in 13 overs.

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