Murali's grandiose exit
World bowling record holder Muttiah Muralidaran was given a presidential send-off on Thursday after he retired with 800 wickets in the bag.
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse flew in from the capital, Colombo, to the southern coastal town of Galle to briefly watch the first Test against India and presented Muralidaran a memento during the lunch break.
But Rajapakse had left by the time the off-spinner had last man Pragyan Ojha caught in the slips to achieve the landmark that terminated India's second innings in the post-lunch session of the final day.
Hosts Sri Lanka went on to win the Test by 10 wickets to take the lead in the three-match series against the world's top-ranked side.
"I must thank His Excellency, the President, for taking time off to come and watch the match," Muralidaran said later.
"I also need to thank my family and my teammates, both past and present, without whose support I would not have achieved anything."
Muralidaran, 38, who has taken more Test (800) and one-day (515) wickets than any bowler in history, remains open to playing limited-overs games.
"I have spoken to the selectors and if they want me for the World Cup next year, I will be available," he said.
Fireworks went off and the packed stands stood up to greet Sri Lanka's favourite cricketing son when the last wicket fell as teammates rushed to congratulate Muralidaran.
Some 15,000 fans, including Muralidaran's parents, his Indian wife, Madhimalar, and four-year old son, Naren, faced anxious moments before the landmark was achieved.
The spinner needed 23 overs to move from 799 to 800 following a doughty rearguard action by India, whose last three wickets added 141 runs after being 197-7 at one stage.
"Getting to 800 was not as important as winning the match," said Muralidaran. "By God's grace, both things happened which made it the greatest day of my life.
"But I assure you, you won't miss me much, because there are some very talented spinners in our country and they will serve the team well."
Muralidaran's controversial bent-arm action -- the result of an elbow deformity since birth -- helped him impart considerable turn and bounce to wreak havoc with the ball.
The 133-Test veteran claimed five wickets in an innings an astonishing 67 times, almost double the hauls of second-placed Australian Shane Warne, who achieved this on 37 occasions.
Muralidaran took 10 wickets or more in a Test 22 times. Warne, who follows the Sri Lankan in the all-time list with 708 wickets, managed that only 10 times.
The spinner said he held no grudges against those, especially Australian umpires Darrel Hair and Ross Emerson, who questioned his bowling action.
"Life is about forgiving and forgetting," he said. "They had a job to do and did what they thought was right. But I am grateful to the International Cricket Council for giving me a chance to prove my innocence."
The Sri Lankan's record haul of 800 Test wickets is unlikely to be broken in the near future. Among bowlers still playing Test cricket, India's Harbhajan Singh leads the pack with 355 wickets and New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori has 325 wickets.
Among others present to bid farewell to Muralidaran were ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat and top officials from Sri Lanka Cricket.