Sri Lanka’s Muralitharan bows out with 800 Test wickets

GALLE, July 22, 2010 (AFP) – World bowling record holder Muttiah Muralitharan was given a presidential send-off on Thursday after he retired with 800 wickets in the bag. Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse flew in from the capital, Colombo, to the southern coastal town of Galle to briefly watch the first Test against India and presented Muralitharan a memento during the lunch break.

But Rajapakse had left by the time the off-spinner had last man Pragyan Ojha caught in the slips to achieve the landmark that terminated India’s second innings in the post-lunch session of the final day.

Hosts Sri Lanka went on to win the Test by 10 wickets to take the lead in the three-match series against the world’s top-ranked side.

“I must thank His Excellency, the President, for taking time off to come and watch the match,” Muralitharan said later.

“I also need to thank my family and my team-mates, both past and present, without whose support I would not have achieved anything.”

Muralitharan, 38, who has taken more Test (800) and one-day (515) wickets than any bowler in history, remains open to playing limited-overs games.

“I have spoken to the