Sri Lanka’s 700-wicket Murali aims for 1,000

KANDY, Sri Lanka, July 14, 2007 (AFP) – Prolific Muttiah Muralitharan has set his eyes on taking 1,000 Test wickets after becoming only the second bowler in history to reach the 700-mark on Saturday.

The Sri Lankan off-spinner achieved the landmark with the last ball of the third and final Test against Bangladesh here that secured his team victory by an innings and 193 runs.

Muralitharan is only nine wickets away from surpassing retired Australian leg-spinner Shane Warne’s world record of 708 to become the most successful bowler ever in the game.

But the 35-year-old wants to play till the next limited-overs World Cup in 2011 and hopes he will add another 300 Test wickets to his kitty by then.

“It is a big achievement taking 700 wickets but I think I can achieve a little bit more,” Muralitharan told reporters after the match.

“I anyway knew I was going to get to 700. The challenge is whether I can take 1,000 Test wickets before I retire.

“I am now thinking about playing until the next World Cup.”

Muralitharan reached the 700-wicket mark when he had Bangladesh’s last man Syed Rasel caught in the deep by Farveez Maharoof to signal a 3-0 sweep of the series by the host