Sri Lanka calls for more Tests in T20 era

August 24, 2009 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s top stars, including the world’s leading bowler Muttiah Muralitharan, want more Test matches to be played despite the growing popularity of Twenty20 cricket. The off-spinner, who has more Test (777) and one-day (511) wickets than any other bowler and will quit the five-day game at the end of 2010, said Test matches raised the stamina and skills of cricketers.

“Tests are the ultimate challenge of cricket,” Muralitharan, 37, said at a function organised for him by his home club, the Tamil Union, in Colombo on Sunday night.

“Over five days, your endurance, skills, patience is put to the test. You need to work hard, bowl more variations. It’s physically very challenging.

“When I first started, I always wanted to be a Test cricketer. I still want to be known as a Test cricketer. We should play more Tests.”

Sri Lanka will play only one Test series next year, at home against the West Indies, which has forced Muralitharan to abandon his stated ambition of taking 1,000 Test wickets.

The injury-prone bowler, who missed last month’s Test against Pakistan due to a swollen knee, hopes to continue playing one-day and Twenty20 cricket until the 2011