Muralitharan eyes world record

COLOMBO, July 2, 2007 (AFP) – Muttiah Muralitharan said Monday he will tour Australia later this year amid the possibility of being crowned Test cricket’s most successful bowler on Shane Warne’s home soil. The Sri Lankan’s 683 wickets leave him just 25 short of equalling the retired Australian leg-spinner’s world record tally of 708.

With two more Tests of the ongoing home series against Bangladesh still left, the 35-year-old could head to Australia in November within striking distance of surpassing Warne.

Muralitharan said he will be available for the two Tests against the world champions in Brisbane (November 8-12) and Hobart (Nov 16-20), and even hinted the milestone may be achieved there.

“I am looking forward to playing in the Test matches and maybe it (the record) will happen there, but the main focus is winning the series, which we have not done in Australia,” he said.

Muralitharan has endured a controversial relationship with Australian cricket ever since he was called for throwing by local umpire Darrell Hair during Sri Lanka’s tour Down Under in 1995-96.

Two years later, another Australian umpire, Ross Emerson, called Muralitharan during a one-day series there, promp