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Jayawardene got 2 wickets against Kenya in the 1999 World Cup group encounter © Getty Images

Spin legend and arguably the greatest bowler of all time, Muttiah Muralitharan was a nightmare for batsmen during his playing days. His 1,347 international wickets, which are a record, are a testament to his greatness. Of these 1,347 wickets, many were caught by Mahela Jayawardene, another Sri Lankan legend and Murali’s long-time teammate as well as captain. If we give an SOS call to a statistician, the exact count of catches taken by Jayawardene of Murali’s bowling can be estimated. However, it is not relevant here. What is relevant though is the reversal of roles we are talking about here.

If c Jayawardene b Muralitharan was a commonplace thing, there was an occasion too when we got to witness c Muralitharan b Jayawardene. It happened during the ICC Cricket World Cup 1999’s group stage encounter between Sri Lanka and Kenya. Sri Lanka were the defending champions in that edition, having won the previous one in 1996. It was also Jayawardene’s first World Cup. He used to bowl his military-medium-pace bowing more often those days. Coming to that particular game, Sri Lanka batted first and scored 275 for 8 in their stipulated 50 overs. Batting at No. 7, Jayawardene smashed a vital 33-ball 45.

In reply, Kenya lost wickets from the beginning and were soon reduced to 33 for 3. Jayawardene was introduced into the attack as first change and immediately got opener Ravindu Shah dismissed. Shah, who went for a lofted cover drive, found Muralitharan at the covers who jumped towards his left to complete the catch.

Watch the video of the dismissal here:

 

Jayawardene took one more wicket in the match which Sri Lanka won by 45 runs. He took 14 wickets overall in his long career, but c Muralitharan b Jayawardene happened just once more, against Australia in August 1999, ie the same year. The batsman was Adam Gilchrist and incidentally, Sri Lanka lost that game while Jayawardene was dismissed for a first-ball duck.