Sri Lanka’s Muralitharan returns to haunt Bangladesh

June 23, 2007 (AFP) – Muttiah Muralitharan resumes his quest to finish as Test cricket’s most successful bowler when Sri Lanka take on Bangladesh in a three-match series starting on Monday. The prolific off-spinner, with 674 wickets from 110 Tests, is only 35 scalps away from surpassing the world record tally of 708 wickets by retired Australian spin wizard Shane Warne.

A rich haul against Bangladesh, against whom Muralitharan has grabbed an incredible 50 wickets in six Tests, will leave the 35-year-old well-placed to overtake Warne in the home series against England in December.

Bangladesh, the lowest ranked Test nation, face the daunting task of having to first deal with Sri Lanka’s pace duo of the seasoned Chaminda Vaas and fiery Lasith Malinga before Muralitharan takes over.

The Sri Lankans have crushed the hapless Bangladeshis in the seven previous Tests between the two sides, winning four of them in fewer than three days and the remaining three early on the fourth morning.

Bangladesh’s new captain Mohammad Ashraful, aged 22, has modest ambitions as he prepares his young team for the first Test at the Sinhalese Sports Club here.

“We are not looking to win but p