Sri Lanka captain says Murali record bid not a distraction

Oct 21, 2007 (AFP) – Sri Lanka skipper Mahela Jayawardene said on Sunday that winning the Test series in Australia mattered more than ace spinner Muttiah Muralitharan going for the world record. Off-spinner Muralitharan needs just nine more wickets in next month’s two Tests in Australia to break the retired leg-spinner Shane Warne’s world mark of 708 wickets.

“I’ve spoken to Murali and his sentiments are that he will break the record whether it will be in Australia or elsewhere,” Jayawardene told the Colombo-based Nation newspaper.

“For him, the Australian tour is about performing well and winning. Down the line, if he can break the record it will be great, but even if he doesn’t break it, it is not an issue for us.”

Muralitharan will have three more Tests against England at home in December to achieve the feat in 2007 if he fails to set the record in Australia.

Sri Lanka may not have won a Test match in Australia but Jayawardene said his side had the bowlers to end the drought.

“The best chance we have got would be right now because we have a good bowling attack,” he said. “We feel that with the attack we’ve got, we can take 20 wickets. That’s the most important thing i