Murali expects Sri Lanka response
Muttiah Muralitharan has tipped Sri Lanka to bounce back from their heavy defeat to England when the two sides meet in the second npower Test at Lord’s.
The tourists were bowled out for a scarcely believable 82 in their second innings on Monday evening at Cardiff to lose the first Test of a three-match series by an innings and 14 runs.
England’s victory was all the more astonishing after inclement weather had wiped out half of the fifth and final day - and large chunks of three of the previous four days - but Chris Tremlett and Graeme Swann blew away Sri Lanka’s batting in little more than an hour.
Momentum is with Andrew Strauss’ men and they could wrap up a series win at Lord’s over the next five days.
However, former Sri Lanka off-spinner Muralitharan, who retired from all forms of international cricket after the World Cup following a glittering career that saw him become the leading wicket-taker in Test cricket with 800 scalps at an average of 22.72, and a record 534 at 23.08 in one-day internationals, believes his former team-mates will not be dwelling over their slip-up.
The 39-year-old told ecb.co.uk: “It was unfortunate but these things happen in cricket because they had to wait such a long time to get out, but I think they will do well in the next match because they are good enough to bounce back.
“I don’t think they’ll feel too bad because it is just one game; there are two Test matches to go in the series.”
Muralitharan, who said he did not watch Sri Lanka’s capitualtion as he was travelling to Gloucestershire to take part in the Friends Life t20, was full of praise for England’s clinical performance.
“They are a very good side and they had a good day. They bowled well and they were lucky that Sri Lanka batted badly,” he said.
Kevin Pietersen’s woes against left-arm spin continued when he was leg before to Rangana Herath after making just three in England's only innings, but Murali, echoing the sentiments of England team director Andy Flower, believes a big score is just around the corner.
“I think he’s one of the best players England have. He’s currently going through a bad patch but he’ll come out of it. He’s a great player, he can bounce back.”