Former Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan played his career with an image of a fierce cricketer who never shied away from challenges. This desire to take challenges made Murali one of the greatest cricketing figures in the history of the game. When Murli announced his intention to retire from Test cricket before the start of the first test against India in 2010, the star spinner needed only 8 wickets to achieve the feat of becoming the first baller to take 800 wickets.
While usually players are expected to delay their retirements to achieve a feat like this, Murli gave himself just one match to create history before saying goodbye to the game.
The Sri Lankan spinner had made up his mind to pick 8 wickets in the match, however, in front of him was star studded batting lineup that included the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman.
Batting first, the Sri Lankan team had put up a mammoth total of 520/8 in the first innings. Now all eyes were on spin master Murali.
By the end of day 3, Murali inched closer to 800 wickets after picking his first in the match in the form of Tendulkar who was given LBW at the score of 8. Next day, it was a batting collapse for the Indian side, and it was bundled up at the score of 276. Murali finished off the innings with his 67th 5 wicket haul and was just 3 wickets away from 800 test wickets.
India was asked to follow on by the Sri Lankan team. The Indian team finished off the day with a score of 181 for the loss of 5 wickets, one of which was taken by Murli.
With 798 wickets in test wickets’ kitty, Murali just needed 2 wickets on the last day of the test match (July 22, 2010) to become the first bowler to get 800 test wickets. But since the achievement was huge, its story also had more twists and turns than usual.
When Laxman got run out as the 9th wicket, Murali still needed another wicket to get to 800 and many feared that he might out at the chance. But he soon got Pragyan Ojha caught in the slip to get to the feat of 800 test wickets and bundle up the Indian team to seal the match for Sri Lanka.