Sri Lankan spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan was taunted by the SCG crowd last night as he went close to claiming the 300th limited-overs wicket of his career.

Making his comeback from a hernia operation, 30-year-old Muralitharan attracted calls of “no ball” from sections of the 34,670-strong crowd when he came on in the 22nd over of Australia’s failed run chase.

It was a carbon copy of the treatment Australian speedster Brett Lee received in the past two Ashes Tests, when the Barmy Army also called out “no ball”.

Lee and Muralitharan have both attracted suspicion, with critics saying they chuck and supporters saying they don’t. Both claim defects in their bowling arm gives the false impression they bend and then straighten it at the moment of delivery.

Muralitharan moved to 298 career victims when Australia’s World Cup all-rounder Andrew Symonds (four) played an awful shot, miscuing an attempted slog, letting go of the bat with one hand as Hashan Tillakaratne took a simple catch.

Another of Australia’s all-rounders, Brad Hogg, became victim 299 when he was stumped – not playing a shot.

Muralitharan appealed for an lbw against Andy Bichel with the final ball of his final over, trying for 300, but umpire Simon Taufel turned him down.

He finished his 10 overs with 2/44.

Muralitharan’s best over was his seventh, a maiden to Jimmy Maher, who had been shoved down the order to No. 8.

A collection of regulation off-breaks, top-spinners and a wrong’un had Maher completely at a loss.

Pakistan’s Wasim Akram is the leading wicket-taker in international one-dayers with 490, followed by his countryman Waqar Younis on 409. India’s leg-spinner Anil Kumble has 300 victims, with Muralitharan the next best on 299.

Australia’s most successful is Shane Warne on 288.

Source : The Age Australia