Aussie crowd abuse will encourage Murali to chase Warne’s record

SYDNEY, Aug 16, 2007 (AFP) – Muttiah Muralitharan has warned any abuse from Australian crowds will only spur him to break Shane Warne’s world record in Sri Lanka’s cricket tour here later this year. The heavily-scrutinised Sri Lankan spinner has dared Australian fans to heckle him as he chases the nine wickets he needs to pass Warne’s world record tally of 708 in the Australian great’s own backyard.

Sri Lanka take on the world champion Australians in Tests in Brisbane and Hobart in November and a one-day tri-series with India and Australia early next year.

“He is comfortable with what Australia is like,” Muralitharan’s manager Kushil Gunasekera told Melbourne’s Herald-Sun newspaper Thursday.

“He understands the harassment given by spectators will only make him more inspired and motivated. It will help him bowl better.

“Murali is happy to be taking on that challenge because Australia is a real test. He will come to Australia.”

But while Muralitharan is within touching distance of Warne’s record, he has a poor record playing on Australian wickets.

In three Tests in Australia, Muralitharan has taken eight wickets at 63.12.

Muralitharan has endured a turbulent