Muttiah Muralitharan recently revealed that he asked Ishant Sharma to have a go at him and get out so that he could get his 800th Test wicket in his final Test. However, Ishant Sharma refused to comply and was determined to stay at the wicket.
The former Sri Lankan spinner was talking to Ravichandran Ashwin in his Youtube show DRS with Ash when he opened up about this incident from his final appearance in Test cricket.
“During the water break, I spoke to Ishant Sharma and told him ‘you have been around for too long. Just try to whack one and get out. You are the last wicket. So staying around is not going to change things. Nor are you scoring runs. At least give me my 800th wicket.”
After picking up a 5-for in the first innings and with Sri Lanka making India follow on, Muttiah Muralitharan was sitting on 797 Test wickets. By the time VVS Laxman got out and India were 9 wickets down, the spin wizard could pick up only two more wickets.
Breaking the last wicket partnership between Ishant Sharma and Pragyan Ojha was his last chance to get to the 800-wicket mark.
Finally, Pragyan Ojha held out to Mahela Jayawardane off Muttiah Muralitharan’s bowling, helping him to become the first bowler in the history of Test match cricket to reach the 800-wicket mark.
“He (Ishant Sharma) said no way he was going to do that. It was luck that I got Pragyan out.”
800 Test wickets.— ICC (@ICC) April 17, 2018
534 ODI wickets.
The most prolific bowler in international cricket history.
Happy birthday to Sri Lanka legend Muttiah Muralitharan!
What was your favourite Murali moment? pic.twitter.com/oja1c4SO0N
Muttiah Muralitharan was probably challenging himself with the final match
Muttiah Muralitharan had announced that the first Test of the three-match series against India at Galle would be his final Test appearance. The Kandy born cricketer was still 8 wickets away from reaching the magic 800-wicket mark. It caught people by surprise since everyone expected that he would play the whole series to give himself a good chance of picking up those 8 wickets.
But the genius was probably challenging himself for one last time. Kumar Sangakkara had recalled the conversation that he had with Muralitharan before the Test.
“He said if I am supposed to be the best spinner I should be able to get 8 wickets at Galle against any side."
Even though the second day of the Test was completely washed out, Sri Lanka managed to bowl India out twice and Muttiah Muralitharan reached the milestone never achieved before.