Rain threatens Murali’s Test finale in Sri Lanka

GALLE, July 17, 2010 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s world record holder Muttiah Muralitharan was geared up to bowl for the last time in the first Test against India from Sunday, but bad weather threatened to disrupt his swansong.

The prolific off-spinner, 38, will retire from Test cricket after the opening contest of the three-match series at the Galle International Stadium, in which he needs eight more scalps to reach the 800-wicket mark.

Heavy rain on Saturday afternoon forced the ground staff to cover the entire field and similar bad weather has been forecast on all five days of the match.

Muralitharan enters his 133rd Test with record hauls in both Test (792) and one-day cricket (515) and looking to spearhead Sri Lanka to victory over the world number one team.

Sri Lanka’s favourite cricketing son said he was as nervous going into Sunday’s match as he was when he made his debut against Australia in 1992.

“It does not matter how many games you play, you still feel a little nervous before any Test match,” he said. “But all that goes away after I have bowled a few overs.

“There is obviously some pressure since this is my last Test, but I want to enjoy the moment. Getting to 800 will be a bonus, but