When Murali spun a web around England to catalyse Sri Lanka’s Test surge | Wisden

In The Oval Test of 1998, Muttiah Muralitharan dismantled the England batting line-up, accounting for a staggering 16 scalps across two innings to lead his side to a memorable win.

In 1998, despite having won the World Cup just two years before, Sri Lanka were only granted one solitary Test match in an English summer. The second-class citizens of the first-class family, they were stitched on at the end of more lucrative contests, and that was that.

In three previous attempts, they had yet to beat England in their own backyard. But at The Oval in August of that year, Muttiah Muralitharan and Sanath Jayasuriya were about to mug the old lady and run off with her jewels. England batted first and made 445 with hundreds by Crawley and Hick. Murali took seven wickets, but it took him sixty overs, and with almost two days played already, it seemed Sri Lanka would have to wait for this first win…

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