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On This Day - December 3, 2007: Muralitharan Becomes Highest Wicket-taker in Tests

The spin wizard from Sri Lanka, Muttiah Muralitharan had an aggregate of 704 wickets - 4 behind the record 708 by the Australian legend, Shane Warne - before the start of the home Test series against England in 2007. Kandy, Muralitharan's home ground was playing host to the first Test. Sri Lanka were bowled out for 188 in the first innings.

On This Day -  December 3, 2007: Muralitharan Becomes Highest Wicket-taker in Tests

The spin wizard from Sri Lanka, Muttiah Muralitharan had an aggregate of 704 wickets - 4 behind the record 708 by the Australian legend, Shane Warne - before the start of the home Test series against England in 2007. Kandy, Muralitharan's home ground was playing host to the first Test. Sri Lanka were bowled out for 188 in the first innings. Murali led Sri Lanka's charge and reduced England to 186 for 6 by close of play on Day 2. He broke a hundred stand for the second-wicket between Ian Bell and Michael Vaughan dismissing the latter. The king of off-spin then ran through the England top and middle order getting rid of Bell and Kevin Pietersen before equaling Warne's tally with the wicket of Ravi Bopara.

Murali had to wait for Day 3 to finally break the record. Bowling his 10th over and overall the 26th of the day, he castled Paul Collingwood to break the record of the leg-spinning genius - Muttiah Muralitharan was now the highest wicket taker in the history of Test cricket! There were celebrations on the ground, dancing and music in the stands and firecrackers to celebrate the landmark achievement!

Murali achieved the feat in his 116th Test and proved third-time lucky. He had held the record previously having overtaken Courtney Walsh in 2004 before claiming it for the second time against South Africa but was overhauled by Warne. Post Kandy in 2007, Murali remained at the top of the charts - a record which still stands intact and may never be broken in Test cricket - and ended with a staggering 800 wickets in 133 Tests at 22.72 apiece with a strike rate of 55, including 67 five-wickets in an innings and 22 10-wickets in a match.

Kandy held a special place in Murali's glorious Test career - he had claimed his 700th Test wicket in just his 113th Test, also at his home venue, against Bangladesh in July, 2007, some five months prior to his world-record achievement. Just for perspective, Warne took 144 Tests to reach the 700-Club in Test cricket.

Muralitharan's longevity, number of wickets, bowling average and strike rate and series-defining performances make him one of the greatest match-winners in the history of Test cricket.

He was almost the Bradman of spin bowling!



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