Tour success, not world record, is target - Sangakkara

SYDNEY, Oct 25 (Reuters) Sri Lanka vice captain Kumar Sangakkara believes off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan will be fired up to pass Shane Warne's test wicket-taking world record in Australia but said a successful tour is the top priority.

Muralitharan, just nine wickets away from surpassing Warne's world record test tally of 708 wickets, was heckled by spectators on his only previous full tour of Australia in 1995-96 after he was no-balled due to his controversial action.

The 35-year-old spinner boycotted a two-test series in Australia in 2004 but did play for a World XI in Sydney two years ago.

The first of a two-test series begins in Brisbane in November 8 and the tourists are hoping to win their first test in Australia.

''It means a lot to everyone in Sri Lanka that Murali is going to Australia and trying to break the record there,'' Sangakkara wrote in his column on cricket Web site

''He's going to be as excited as a schoolboy. But Murali also realises that his getting those nine wickets is only part of this tour. The bigger picture is to beat Australia; everything else is related to that.'' No touring team has won a test series in Australia since the West Indies in 1993.

''Murali knows his stats to the last detail and he'll know his two other tests in Australia have produced only three wickets,'' Sangakkara added.

''He'll be devising plans and strategies to get wickets this time.'' REUTERS BJR ND1456

Story first published: Thursday, October 25, 2007, 15:07 [IST]
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