The 37-year-old Sri Lanka spinner, 14 short of extending his world record test wicket haul to 800, claimed just three wickets in 63.5 overs in the first test in Ahmedabad.
Muralitharan will also be looking to improve his modest record in India in his final away test series, having announced in July his plan to retire from tests next year. Sri Lanka, currently second behind South Africa, are seeking their first-ever test win in India with the series winner also assured of the top spot in world test rankings.
While Muralitharan, the teams bowling linchpin, has a career average of 22.41, his 34 wickets in nine tests in India have come at 42.58 runs apiece.
Seven batsmen hit centuries in Ahmedabad where Muralitharan surprised all by struggling to produce his trademark sharp turn.
The flatness of the pitch completely neutralised the spinners efforts in the game, former India skipper Saurav Ganguly wrote on the website www.cricinfo.com.
Looking at the way Muralitharan bowled on day five and the amount of turn he got from the pitch, I would not be wrong in saying one more test match could probably (have been) played on this wicket.
Sri Lanka could add leg spinner Ajantha Mendis after left-arm Rengana Herath was surprisingly chosen ahead of him in Ahmedabad.
The 24-year-old grabbed 26 wickets to help clinch a 2-1 home series win over India last year and Mendis, being quicker through the air, could prove effective even on a slow pitch.
The tourists could even add him as a third spinner if new ball bowler Dhammika Prasad, who produced sharp pace, does not recover from a hamstring strain suffered in the first test.
Opener Tillakaratne Dilshan, who made 112 in Ahmedabad, hurt his nose playing a game of soccer, but is expected to recover.
The dull start to the series has renewed fears for the future of test cricket, already under threat from the Twenty20 game.
Many former players sharply criticised the pitch, where Muralis counterpart Harbhajan Singh, the second most successful current test spinner with 332 wickets, also failed to impress.
If you see Muralitharan was in the opposition side, he is the greatest we will see, even he didnt get the bounce or turn he is known for, India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni said.
However, the Green Park curator is unlikely to produce an under-prepared pitch, after the International Cricket Council (ICC) issued a warning following last years Indian win in three days against South Africa on a crumbling track.
Mumbai will stage the third and final test from