New Delhi:Sri Lankan bowling legend Muttiah Muralitharan finished his 18-year long career with third position in the latest ICC Test rankings.
The 38-year-old champion off-spinner bowed out in third position behind South African pacer Dale Steyn and Pakistan's Mohammad Asif, after climbing two spots in the latest rankings following his figures of 5-63 and 3-128 which set-up a 10-wicket victory for Sri Lanka in the first Test of the three-match series against India in Galle.
Murali, who finished with 800 wickets from 133 Tests, spent record 1,711 days in number-one spot.
The Kandy-born off spinner had first surged to the top of the bowling rankings in January 2002 after his match figures of 9-91 which not only paved the way for Sri Lanka to make a clean sweep of the three-Test series against Zimbabwe but also made him the quickest bowler to reach 400 Test wickets.
Within a year of making his Test debut Test against Australia at Colombo, Muralitharan broke into the top 20 when he jumped to 19th position in September 1993 at P.Sara Oval in Colombo against South Africa and then never dropped out. The closest he came to slipping out of the top 20 was in March 1997 against New Zealand in Dunedin when he was briefly in 20th position.
Meanwhile, Lankan pacer Lasith Malinga took 7-105 in Galle to re-enter in 25th position. He was also the man of the match.
The bowlers dropping in the latest rankings include Ishant Sharma 22nd (down by one place), Rangana Herath 31st (down by six places) and Pragyan Ojha 58th (down by nine places).
Following poor batting display by the Indians, most of their key batsmen have slipped in the Test rankings. India opener Gautam Gambhir, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman and captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni have failed to retain their places.
Gambhir has slipped six places to 10th position, Laxman has fallen two places to 15th position, Dravid has dropped one place to 18th place, while Dhoni has fallen four places to 40th spot.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara has swapped places with his predecessor Mahela Jayawardena. India's Virender Sehwag, who scored 109 and 31, has opened up a 14-point gap over second-placed Sangakkara.