DateLine: 9th September 2006
Muttiah Muralitharan is on fire of late and the ace spinner has let the secret of his stunning form. Murali has said the main reason for his recent fine form has been the way he received abuse from crowds during Sri Lanka's tour of Australia earlier this year.
The off-spinner, whose controversial action twice saw him no-balled for throwing in Australia during in the 1990s, has taken 46 wickets in his last five Test matches, against England and South Africa.
"I am in some good form but I wouldn't say it is necessarily the best form of my career," Murali told a website. "I am just bowling well and have found some good rhythm. For the last year I have bowled well and I haven't done anything different in these series than at other times. Cricket is like this, wickets can come all at once and at other times you can bowl well and maybe not receive your rewards," added the 34-year-old, whose haul of 657 wickets leaves him second only to Australia leg-spin ace Shane Warne in the all-time list of leading Test wicket-takers.
"If there is one thing that maybe has helped me this year it was the experience I had in Australia. It may sound a strange thing to say as it was a very tough tour for me on and off the field, especially with the abuse we received. But if you go through difficult times and come out the other side, you become a stronger character for it. That's what happened to me. I like to think that I am quite strong mentally anyway. But these sort of experiences only make me more determined."
In January, Muralitharan was greeted by chants of "no ball" from large sections of the crowd at Melbourne's Docklands Stadium when he bowled during Sri Lanka's opening tri-series one-day match against Australia.