Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Magical Mendis

Grameenphone Test Series,Bangladesh-Srilanka
Magical Mendis
Sports Reporter

Sri Lanka spinner Ajantha Mendis (R) celebrates bowling Zimbabwe batsman Stuart Matsikenyeri during their Grameenphone tri-nation ODI at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur on Monday.Photo: STAR
Sri Lanka spinner Ajantha Mendis (R) celebrates bowling Zimbabwe batsman Stuart Matsikenyeri during their Grameenphone tri-nation ODI at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur on Monday.Photo: STAR

Ajantha Mendis contributed with three wickets as Sri Lanka demolished Zimbabwe by 130 runs in the second match of the Grameenphone tri-nation tournament at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur yesterday.
It was a match to remember for the mystery spinner as he became the fastest bowler to take 50 one-day international wickets achieving the milestone in just 19 matches.
The 23-year-old Sri Lanka Army officer, who already hogged the spotlight in international cricket with his ‘carrom ball’ to flummox the batsmen, had Ray Price stumped by Kumar Sangakkara to beat Indian pacer Ajit Agarkar’s record in 23 games.
“We are quite happy and no doubt it’s a good achievement. Ajantha is something special and we definitely celebrate his success,” said an excited Sri Lanka skipper Mahela Jayawardene, who also reached a milestone as he took two catches yesterday to secure most one-day catches (156) as a fielder. Jayawardene achieved it in 289 matches while former Indian skipper Mohammad Azharuddin has same number of catches to his belt in 334 games.
Understandably the Lankan skipper also heaped praises on Angelo Mathews who slammed his maiden half-century to give his side a decent total after a middle order wobble. The 21-year old batsman hit an unbeaten 52 off 96 balls with the help of a boundary and two sixes as Sri Lanka recovered from 97 for 5 to 210-6 in 50 overs.
“It was really impressive the way he (Angelo Mathews) handled the situation. He was brilliant with the A team and the Under-19 team and he has got the talent, now what we want is for him to continue his good showing,” said Jayawardene.
“When I went out to bat the wicket was doing a bit. I’ve played on these types of wickets before. I’m thankful to the seniors. I was positive in my approach and you know one has to be tough in this level,” said Mathews when asked about his game plan after the middle order hiccup.
Sri Lanka stormed home as Zimbabwe had no answer against their opponents versatile bowling attack, being bundled out for 80 runs.
But still there was a question about whether the Sri Lanka skipper was happy with his team’s batting performance in the match.
“Given the conditions it was a challenge for us and we really fought well. The wicket surprises us everyday. It played differently in the morning but it doesn’t necessarily mean you always get an ideal one-day wicket everywhere. Angelo (Mathews), Jehan Mubarak and Tharanga (Upul) guided us through the difficult period, ” Jayawardene defended.
On the other hand Zimbabwe skipper Prosper Utseya was disappointed with the outcome after an impressive 38-run victory over the Tigers.
“I am disappointed as we didn’t put up a fight. No excuses for the way we played. The bowling has been good. The batsmen should apply themselves a bit more. We have had the wrong mind set as one batsman was required to stay at the crease,” said Utseya adding that it was a bad day for them.
Despite the huge defeat, Zimbabwe has a bright chance to play the January 16 final at the same venue as Bangladesh is under immense pressure to beat Sri Lanka convincingly tomorrow for giving themselves a shot at the final.

Courtesy: thedailystar.net

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