Murali twist has New Zealand in a spin

WELLINGTON, Dec 14, 2006 (AFP) – The controversy surrounding Muttiah Muralitharan’s bizarre run out which hastened Sri Lanka’s downfall in the first cricket Test against New Zealand, flared again here Thursday on the eve of the second Test.

Two days after Sri Lanka said they had put the issue behind them — while maintaining the run out was bad sportsmanship — New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming accused the tourists of taking the gloss off New Zealand’s win.

“We won’t necessarily move on,” Fleming said, describing the sportsmanship issue as a smokescreen to mask Muralitharan’s schoolboy error and a “selfish” climax to Kumar Sangakkara’s unbeaten 100.

Sri Lanka’s spinmaster was run out by New Zealand wicketkeeper Brendon McCullum when he went to congratulate century-maker Sangakkara while the ball was still in play.

The dismissal ended Sri Lanka’s second innings, leaving New Zealand a 119-run target which they achieved for the loss of five wickets as they struggled to read Muralitharan’s spin.

Had the Sri Lankan innings continued for another 50 runs, they may well have won given New Zealand’s batting woes.

But Fleming spiced up interest in the second Test saying New Zealand would not hesitate to effect a similar dism