Murali's Aussie regret
Muttiah Muralitharan played his last game Down Under with a nagging regret he had never really shone in Australia.
Last Updated: 29/02/08 2:26pm
Muttiah Muralitharan played his last game in Australia with a nagging regret that he has never really performed at his best in Test cricket Down Under.
The legendary Sri Lankan spinner played in the final Commonwealth Bank Series group game on Friday, which saw Sri Lanka bow out of the competition with a welcome win over Australia.
Approaching 36, Murali is nearing the end of his playing days, and his latest visit to Australia will be his last.
The Sri Lankan has come under fire from all angles in Australia, and is far from a crowd favourite as he endures a hot reception every time he comes to bowl at an Australian cricket ground.
Despite this he is Test cricket's leading all-time wicket-taker with 723 scalps to his name and regardless of any criticism about his action he will go down as one of the best of all time.
After the victory against Australia, Muralitharan insisted that he always enjoyed his visits, but was disappointed that he never really hit top form against the Aussies.
Muralitharan has 59 wickets in 13 matches against Australia, his lowest total against any Test playing nations, with an average way below his overall at Test level.
"I won't be able to come to Australia again," said Murali. "I enjoyed myself as always.
"It (Australia) is the only country in which I have not really performed, my (Test) average is not good enough.
"That disappointment will always be there."
Veteran opener Sanath Jayasuriya was also making his final appearance in Australia, and although he failed with the bat he did bowl out Brett Lee to win the match.
Despite ending the tour on a high Jayasuriya was unhappy not to have made the CB Series final.
"I won't be able to come any more to Australia," Jayasuriya said.
"I enjoyed myself always, sometimes there were ups and downs here but I enjoyed myself always
"It's disappointing we didn't reach the final."