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Muralitharan strikes in first England test

Written by: Staff
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LONDON, May 11 (Reuters) Sri Lanka off spinner Muttiah Muralitharan captured his first wicket at Lord's today after England openers Marcus Trescothick and Andrew Strauss amassed an untroubled 86 on the opening day of the first test.

Muralitharan dismissed Strauss for 48 with the final ball before lunch to take his overall test haul to 612.

The England left-handers had taken full advantage of a pitch offering little to the Sri Lankan medium-pacers after stand-in captain Andrew Flintoff had won the toss and opted to bat.

England signalled their attacking intentions by leaving out batsman Ian Bell and preferring the pace and lift of debutant Sajid Mahmood to the swing off Jon Lewis.

Sri Lanka, by contrast, named seven specialist batsmen including 19-year-old Chamara Kapugedera for his debut test.

They also preferred all-rounder Farveez Maharoof to the more penetrative pace bowling of Lasith Malinga and Nuwan Zoysa.

Maharoof and Chaminda Vaas took the new ball but never threatened to extract anything out of the ordinary once Trescothick got his feet moving on a pitch tinged with green.

Strauss took 17 minutes to get off the mark, pushing Vaas firmly to leg for a boundary. He enjoyed himself at the expense of the innocuous Maharoof, taking boundaries on both sides of the wicket from the medium pacer's fifth over.

The half-century came up from 92 balls just before the drinks break and Maharoof was taken out of the attack after conceding 39 runs from his eight overs, including five no-balls.

Muralitharan took over at the Pavilion End 25 minutes beore lunch for his first over at the home of cricket.

The off-spinner, who has stated his intention to get on to the honours board with a five-wicket haul, brushed Strauss's pad with his first delivery after the batsman decided to lift his bat out of the way.

In his second he had a prolonged appeal for lbw against Trescothick rejected by umpire Rudi Koertzen. The ball appeared headed for middle stump but Trescothick had pushed well forward and was given the benefit of the doubt.

Despite these alarms, England appeared set to take lunch without losing a wicket when Strauss pushed forward to the first delivery of Muralitharan's fourth over and edged a simple catch to Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene at slip.

REUTERS DH PC1900

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