Warne thanks former teammates for keeping record intact

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Sydney, Nov 20 (UNI) Spin legend Shane Warne will keep his world record of most Test dismissals for some more time as Sri Lankan off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan failed to surpass the feat in the 'Down Under' Test series which ended today.

Warne thanked his former teammates for allowing him to hold the record for some more time. The Hampshire captain was delighted that Australian batsmen tamed Murali, but conceded it was only a temporary reprieve.

Warne said,''It was nice the Australian boys have allowed me to hold on to the record for an extra week, but It's only a matter of time before Murali gets it.'' ''Hopefully the England boys make him work hard in Sri Lanka as well. But as I said, with Murali it's only a matter of time.

''The boys played him extremely well in this series, but he will go on and get a 1000,'' Warne was quoted as saying by 'Herald Sun'.

Before the start of the series Ricky Ponting's men vowed to deny the off-spinner the chance to surpass his Aussie bete noire.

Muralitharan began the two-test series against Australia needing just eight wickets to equal Warne's record haul of 708 but only managed four victims at an average of 100.

While he will go on and become the game's greatest wicket-taker, Muralitharan will never be able to say he conquered Australian conditions, as this is in all likelihood his last series in Australia.

The 1999 Wisden Cricketer of the Year in five Tests in Australia has taken 12 wickets at an average of 75.41, compared to his overall career record of 704 wickets at 21.77.

The 35-year-old Muralitharan has largely been unstoppable on the dusty and spinning tracks of Sri Lanka and this is reflected in his statistics. He has claimed 432 wickets at an average of 19.12 in Sri Lanka.

He declared on the eve of Australia tour that his ambition was not to claim the Test record again -- he held it briefly in 2004 -- but to become the first man to take 1000 Test wickets.

''I have had the record before. It won't be the same. I did it last time,'' Muralitharan said.

''It's just another wicket. The 1000th will be the big one if I can get that. I think I can achieve a little bit more than the world record.

''I hope to play until the next World Cup in 2011 and the challenge is that before I retire I am thinking of taking 1000 Test wickets. If I put my mind to it, I can do it,'' he said.

The Sri Lankans will leave for home tomorrow and a three-Test campaign against England, beginning on December 1 in Muralitharan's home town Kandy.

UNI

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