Langer rates Muralitharan the best
MELBOURNE: Australian Test opener Justin Langer says he feels better prepared to handle demon Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan in next monthís Test series.
The little left-handed opener says heís a different player from when he last toured Sri Lanka in 1999 when he scored just 51 runs in four innings at number three in the batting order. He said while Muralitharan was still the most difficult bowler to face in world cricket, his own game - with an emphasis on a solid defence and good footwork against spinners - would serve him well.
ďIíve had a great season basically, so I canít wait to get there,Ē Langer said here on Sunday.
ďIím a different player now than I was four years ago when I toured Sri Lanka.
ďAt that stage I was still finding my feet, Iíd only had a bit in Test cricket.
ďBut now I feel really comfortable with my game, Iíve been batting well all summer for Western Australia and Australia, so Iím looking forward to it.Ē
Langer, who scored 1,027 first-class runs at 48.90 in the Australian summer, and captain Ricky Ponting are the only two batsmen still in the side from four years ago. In 1999, Langer was the only left-hander in the top seven with Michael Slater, Greg Blewett, Mark and Steve Waugh, Ponting and Ian Healy all right-handed.
But this time there could be up to five lefties in the top seven - Langer and opening partner Matthew Hayden, Darren Lehmann, Simon Katich and Adam Gilchrist - with Damien Martyn the other right-hander. Left-handers have often had success against Murali because they can either leave his stock off-spinner or pad away a ball pitching outside leg stump without fear of an LBW appeal. But Langer rates the Sri Lankan star the best of all the bowlers. ďIíve always found him to be hardest bowler Iíve ever faced, no denying that fact,Ē he said. óAFP