Sri Lanka’s Muralitharan may be overtaken by Steyn

DHAKA, Feb 26, 2008 (AFP) – South African paceman Dale Steyn was fast closing in on number one Test bowler Muttiah Muralitharan after an impressive performance in the opening Test against Bangladesh here. Steyn picked up 38 valuable ratings points in the first Test, which his team won by five wickets on Monday, and is now just 37 behind the Sri Lankan spin wizard, according to the official rankings released Tuesday.

The 24-year-old, who sits in second place, also consolidated his position as the highest rated paceman, with 870 points and is closing rapidly on the magic 900, a level that has been achieved by only a few among the current crop.

He took 13 Tests to reach his first 50 wickets but made 47 dismissals in his next six outings, giving him an average of eight per match.

Steyn’s latest Test saw him walk off with seven wickets on a pitch that offered no assistance. And he goes into Friday’s second match at Chittagong needing just two wickets to reach 100 Test dismissals in only his 20th match.

Youngsters Morne Morkel of South Africa and Shahadat Hossain of Bangladesh were the other big movers in the bowling list, released by the International Cricket Council.

The 22-year-old H