Galle:Spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan treated himself with the wicket of master batsman Sachin Tendulkar in what happens to be his last Test.
The battle between the highest wicket-taker and the highest run-getter was finally won by the former, after he struck in the 20.4 over of the Indian innings on Day 3 of the first Test in Galle.
Sachin had scored only eight runs when he failed to play the sweep shot and was caught plumb in front of the wicket. With Sachin's wicket, Murali inched a wicket closer to the magical figure of 800. He needs seven wickets more to complete 800 wickets in Test cricket.
The rain-marred match has risen in profile as it is Muralitharan's final Test at the end of which, he would bid adieu to his 18-year-old career.
The weathergods dampened the atmosphere on the first two days but when Muralitharan finally got a chance to come on the field to bat, firecrackers went off in the stadium to salute the veteran off-spinner.
The emotional quotient rose further when the visiting Indian players, in a touching gesture, formed a guard of honour as Muralitharan stepped out, a rare sight for a number 10 batsman.
Muralitharan also got pats on his back from the Indians, who tried to make the occasion special for the Lankan, just seven shy of touching the 800-wicket mark.
The warmth did not end at that and when the Indian innings began, it was the Sri Lankans who formed a guard of honour for their legendary teammate after stepping out to field.
(With agency inputs)