Sri Lanka v India, 1st ODI, Dambulla August 18, 2008

Mendis remains a mystery

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Mahendra Singh Dhoni said after the Asia Cup that Ajantha Mendis couldn't be read. Nothing's changed since then © AFP
 

The crisp, cream clothing made way for dazzling blue, but the script read much the same. Watching India clearly weighed down by the finger freak waiting in the wings, unsure about how to tackle tidy medium-pace, anxious about what could be unleashed at any moment, it was hard not to get a sense of déjà vu. The Test specialists were gone, but the one-day recruits suffered a similar fate.

India's latest defeat against Sri Lanka wasn't all about Ajantha Mendis, though at the rate he is picking up awards and cheques, he's certain to be a richer man and teach Arun Lal, the post-match emcee all tour, a fair amount of Sinhalese. Mendis played a key role, but India were severely dented after Sri Lanka's new-ball duo nipped out three early wickets.

That pair took much of the pressure off Mendis and Muttiah Muralitharan. Chaminda Vaas breached Gautam Gambhir's defence with the second ball of the match and Nuwan Kulasekera bowled very well, complementing his partner, to take two wickets. After five overs India were 9 for 1; after ten 29 for 2; after 15, 42 for 3; after the Powerplays they were reeling at 73 for 4. Therein lies the command that Sri Lanka took over the opposition. Vaas and Kulasekera choked the top order and Thilan Thushara, bowling tidy left-arm seam, maintained the pressure. It was a clinical example of attacking through partnerships.

More importantly, it was the perfect setting for Mendis to come in for the last over of the Powerplays. India were unsettled by their early losses and apprehensive about Mendis' arrival. They were unsure about how to handle the situation, and it proved detrimental.

When Mendis did arrive, India's batsmen looked no closer to deciphering him. His first strike hurt so deep that India failed to recover. Yuvraj Singh was beaten first ball by a slider, survived an extremely tight lbw shout, tried to dictate terms with a six over long-on, and was then utterly befuddled by a quicker one that skidded on. Too far forward, Yuvraj was left looking silly. India's most experienced player had fallen for the dangling carrot, and the reverberations were loud.

Thereon it was much the same as in the Tests. Mendis left the rest to fumble about in the dark. Mahendra Singh Dhoni fidgeted and fussed about his crease, playing and missing until he was put out of his misery by an outside-edge that flew to slip. Runs dried up. The heat turned up. After the Asia Cup, Dhoni said Mendis just couldn't be read at all; nothing has changed.

 
 
India's players have bounced between analysing footage, hoping that his aura may wear off and stressing on reading him off the pitch. What they need to understand is that for the time being Mendis is beyond understanding. Hard as it may sound, they need to take him out of the equation, stop worrying about him
 

Again bowling accurately and lethally, Mendis finished with 3 for 21 off nine overs, helping reduce India to 87 for 7 after which he was taken out of the attack. All Murali had to do was twirl his wrist and gobble up the lower order, even if his last over went for 14. The problem with India's approach against Mendis was that everyone wanted to build, nobody wanted to do maintenance.

"Creativity is not like a freight train going down the tracks," wrote Bob Dylan in his autobiography, Chronicles. "It's something that has to be caressed and treated with a great deal of respect. If your mind is intellectually in the way, it will stop you. You've got to programme your brain not to think too much."

Flip that around and you understand India's predicament against Mendis. They've been bamboozled, nay awed, by Mendis' bag of tricks since he destroyed them in Karachi. Mendis is special, no doubt about it. India's players have bounced between analysing footage, hoping that his aura may wear off and stressing on reading him off the pitch. What they need to understand is that for the time being Mendis is beyond understanding. Hard as it may sound, they need to take him out of the equation, stop worrying about him.

Virender Sehwag didn't think too much about Mendis in Galle and finished the match with 251 runs. There's a possibility he may be out of the whole series, and that's a massive worry, for in a sense India lost this match before Dhoni went out for the toss. They lost this match some time during training yesterday when Sehwag injured himself. Sehwag was India's highest scorer in the Test series, handling Mendis with aplomb during his double hundred in Galle, and their best bet at providing a solid start.

Dhoni spoke of the added responsibility on Sehwag to pass on advice to India's one-day recruits. In terms of his experience against Sri Lanka's spinners and his ability to provide starts, an integral asset in cricket, Sehwag's loss was brutal. In his last ODI he hammered an exhilarating 60 from just 35 balls, helping India storm to 76 from just nine overs.

Without their best player, India's indecision crept in from the onset. The openers may have thought attacking Sri Lanka's medium-pacers was the best option given their inefficiency in the Tests. That didn't work, and they had no answer to Mendis.

Even if they do a half-baked job of something, India's batsmen will find themselves one-eyed men in the kingdom of the blind. But at the moment they remain indecisive about picking one approach; it's a toss-up between throwing in the towel or trying to force the pace against spin. India need to find a way to rotate singles, as well as score runs.

"Its important to learn," said Dhoni, "because everyone makes mistakes. Unless you learn from those your own, your team's graph won't go up."

There's only a day's gap for the second match. India's time starts now.

Jamie Alter is a staff writer at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY Tariqonnet on | August 19, 2008, 7:30 GMT

    Dhoni pulled out of test series where he could have participated. And we all saw the level of keeping, and ofcourse Dhoni would have made the difference. Now Sehwag is out due to injury, Dhoni's best bet against SriLanka. Let Dhoni feel the same what Kumble must have felt because of Dhoni's pullout, its circle of life.

  • POSTED BY r_rangan on | August 19, 2008, 7:25 GMT

    I think Chandrapaul will be the best batsman to tackle Mendis. Unorthodox Batsman will be more successful against Mendis whem compared to Orthodox Text Book players. Atleast, when facing Mendis, the batsman need to play unorthodox way. Taking strides, Open stance, Offstump Guard will help the Batsman play Mendis better. And I think once the batsman play Mendis regulary in 20-20 competitions, they will get to know better on how to play Mendis. One batsman will definitely show the way to the other and from then on let us see...after all this is only the first season for Mendis.

  • POSTED BY Pawan1993 on | August 19, 2008, 6:46 GMT

    Yeah, I agree Mendis just has to be forgotten about to have any chance of winning the match. Or you could play him like Sehwag did and try to smash Mendis, but then again I doubt even the famed Australians would be able to take care of Mendis. Where is Rajasthan Royal's unorthodox batsman Asnodkar? He batted alot like Sehwag. Carefree and aggressive. We want the old Yuvi to do what he did best like in the warm-up SL XI match. And if you look at India's batting form at other teams then India re in good form. Like against SL XI and in the Asia Cup. They made batting look so easy and when the Mendis factor is introduced, batsmen collapse, teams are destroyed. Sehwag's 251 led India to their only test victory in the series and they need a new leader like him here. The whole team stood up against the other teams but against Mendis they need a leader. More proof that India are great against any team without Mendis:CB Series saw the fall of Sri Lankan cricket but Mendis came to the rescue.

  • POSTED BY L.K.DAS on | August 19, 2008, 6:41 GMT

    The Indian batsman failed again to show their consistancy. If the opening partnership didn't do well, all the others follow. I do not think that the pitch has played a vital roll. Especially when Sri Lanka could score pretty well.

    Apart from that, Sri Lanka has really done well. Especially, Mendis who knows the weekness of the indian batsman and used it effectively. My congratulations to Jayawardane, who has used efficiently his bowlers to shatter the dreams of India.

  • POSTED BY shenbaga on | August 19, 2008, 6:30 GMT

    It is test of character for Dhoni! Jayawardene sees ODIs as opportunity to conquer India in total after the drubbing he gave them in tests. But, even scrape-through and lucky wins like wins in T20 world cup and CB series finals seem remote here.

    Luckily, the Indians have room for improvement. Dhoni needs to field best bowlers and best combination to be competitive in LG cup. He needs to field 4 seamers unless he has a spinner who can bowl economical overs in powerplays day-in and day-out. And if two spinners are fielded, best seamers should play; irfan pathan at best can be a fourth seamer only. The equation is simple; restrict lankans to manageable total and hope that Indians salvage their pride.

    Indians would miss the X-factor of shewag who is out of this series due to injury. Another X-factor, Yusuf Pathan, was unfortunately dropped for LG cup and Champions trophy. Yusuf was the chief Indian contender for Most Valuable Player in last IPL league and look what they did to him.

  • POSTED BY Lazys0d1990 on | August 19, 2008, 6:18 GMT

    It would be interesting to see how Medis would handle less responsive pitches outside the sub-continent, if does well in places like Australia I'd rate him a better bowler than Murali, simply because Murali (while being a great bowler) doesn't have a great record off the responsive sub-continent pitches

  • POSTED BY bharat7 on | August 19, 2008, 5:32 GMT

    Until & unless Indian batsmen try to find a way out to play the bowling of Mendis they are going to struggle. Because of Mendis factor India is always trying to place safe then they end up giving wickets to him. He is a bowler whose trajectory is always in line with the stumps hence it would be worth trying to sweep him instead of just prodding on the front foot and then being caught in slips or being given LBW. Horizontal bat shot must be tried out. Had Australia been playing against him they would have certainly played sweep shots like what they did to Harbhajan in 2001 series.

  • POSTED BY mcna on | August 19, 2008, 5:24 GMT

    A game has win, lose or tie. The teams should accept this. A team could underperform in a particular series and do better later. We should not expect a particular team to win all the matches always as I see among Indian fans. When the Indians team winds, all the praise goes and when they lose, there comes the complete disappointment. Accept what happened and try for the next.

  • POSTED BY Sam1981 on | August 19, 2008, 5:20 GMT

    All talk about Ajantha Mendis.. He is a wonderfull bowler absolutly no doubt about that but troth to be told India is making things easy for him. Ultimately the victory is but a team effort. i am sure the indians are in a dialma over Mendis factor weather play or defend it is, i think the reason why they lost their first three wickets early before Mendis No doubt about the talent of Mendis, it is just amazing.yet the indians themselves have crated a kind of Paranoia about Mendis thinking he is unpalyable. if they think so no point of having the rest of the serious. hoping to have good perfomance from the Indians

  • POSTED BY Himanshu_Kapil on | August 19, 2008, 4:51 GMT

    Thats the best solution to face Mendis.Just dont think too much about it. Look Gambhir the way he got out it looks that he was in a different world thinking about some thing else.Same with Yuvi and Dhoni. THey are too concious to play Mendis. No doubt he is a great bowler. ANd it is a great feeling to see such a unique bowler after so many decades in the crop of off spinners, leg breaks . And in this they forget that SL has too good bowlers like Vaas and Murli.. who can still devastate any team. So Mantra should be free your mind with all hype and play straigt as much as possible with bat.

  • POSTED BY Tariqonnet on | August 19, 2008, 7:30 GMT

    Dhoni pulled out of test series where he could have participated. And we all saw the level of keeping, and ofcourse Dhoni would have made the difference. Now Sehwag is out due to injury, Dhoni's best bet against SriLanka. Let Dhoni feel the same what Kumble must have felt because of Dhoni's pullout, its circle of life.

  • POSTED BY r_rangan on | August 19, 2008, 7:25 GMT

    I think Chandrapaul will be the best batsman to tackle Mendis. Unorthodox Batsman will be more successful against Mendis whem compared to Orthodox Text Book players. Atleast, when facing Mendis, the batsman need to play unorthodox way. Taking strides, Open stance, Offstump Guard will help the Batsman play Mendis better. And I think once the batsman play Mendis regulary in 20-20 competitions, they will get to know better on how to play Mendis. One batsman will definitely show the way to the other and from then on let us see...after all this is only the first season for Mendis.

  • POSTED BY Pawan1993 on | August 19, 2008, 6:46 GMT

    Yeah, I agree Mendis just has to be forgotten about to have any chance of winning the match. Or you could play him like Sehwag did and try to smash Mendis, but then again I doubt even the famed Australians would be able to take care of Mendis. Where is Rajasthan Royal's unorthodox batsman Asnodkar? He batted alot like Sehwag. Carefree and aggressive. We want the old Yuvi to do what he did best like in the warm-up SL XI match. And if you look at India's batting form at other teams then India re in good form. Like against SL XI and in the Asia Cup. They made batting look so easy and when the Mendis factor is introduced, batsmen collapse, teams are destroyed. Sehwag's 251 led India to their only test victory in the series and they need a new leader like him here. The whole team stood up against the other teams but against Mendis they need a leader. More proof that India are great against any team without Mendis:CB Series saw the fall of Sri Lankan cricket but Mendis came to the rescue.

  • POSTED BY L.K.DAS on | August 19, 2008, 6:41 GMT

    The Indian batsman failed again to show their consistancy. If the opening partnership didn't do well, all the others follow. I do not think that the pitch has played a vital roll. Especially when Sri Lanka could score pretty well.

    Apart from that, Sri Lanka has really done well. Especially, Mendis who knows the weekness of the indian batsman and used it effectively. My congratulations to Jayawardane, who has used efficiently his bowlers to shatter the dreams of India.

  • POSTED BY shenbaga on | August 19, 2008, 6:30 GMT

    It is test of character for Dhoni! Jayawardene sees ODIs as opportunity to conquer India in total after the drubbing he gave them in tests. But, even scrape-through and lucky wins like wins in T20 world cup and CB series finals seem remote here.

    Luckily, the Indians have room for improvement. Dhoni needs to field best bowlers and best combination to be competitive in LG cup. He needs to field 4 seamers unless he has a spinner who can bowl economical overs in powerplays day-in and day-out. And if two spinners are fielded, best seamers should play; irfan pathan at best can be a fourth seamer only. The equation is simple; restrict lankans to manageable total and hope that Indians salvage their pride.

    Indians would miss the X-factor of shewag who is out of this series due to injury. Another X-factor, Yusuf Pathan, was unfortunately dropped for LG cup and Champions trophy. Yusuf was the chief Indian contender for Most Valuable Player in last IPL league and look what they did to him.

  • POSTED BY Lazys0d1990 on | August 19, 2008, 6:18 GMT

    It would be interesting to see how Medis would handle less responsive pitches outside the sub-continent, if does well in places like Australia I'd rate him a better bowler than Murali, simply because Murali (while being a great bowler) doesn't have a great record off the responsive sub-continent pitches

  • POSTED BY bharat7 on | August 19, 2008, 5:32 GMT

    Until & unless Indian batsmen try to find a way out to play the bowling of Mendis they are going to struggle. Because of Mendis factor India is always trying to place safe then they end up giving wickets to him. He is a bowler whose trajectory is always in line with the stumps hence it would be worth trying to sweep him instead of just prodding on the front foot and then being caught in slips or being given LBW. Horizontal bat shot must be tried out. Had Australia been playing against him they would have certainly played sweep shots like what they did to Harbhajan in 2001 series.

  • POSTED BY mcna on | August 19, 2008, 5:24 GMT

    A game has win, lose or tie. The teams should accept this. A team could underperform in a particular series and do better later. We should not expect a particular team to win all the matches always as I see among Indian fans. When the Indians team winds, all the praise goes and when they lose, there comes the complete disappointment. Accept what happened and try for the next.

  • POSTED BY Sam1981 on | August 19, 2008, 5:20 GMT

    All talk about Ajantha Mendis.. He is a wonderfull bowler absolutly no doubt about that but troth to be told India is making things easy for him. Ultimately the victory is but a team effort. i am sure the indians are in a dialma over Mendis factor weather play or defend it is, i think the reason why they lost their first three wickets early before Mendis No doubt about the talent of Mendis, it is just amazing.yet the indians themselves have crated a kind of Paranoia about Mendis thinking he is unpalyable. if they think so no point of having the rest of the serious. hoping to have good perfomance from the Indians

  • POSTED BY Himanshu_Kapil on | August 19, 2008, 4:51 GMT

    Thats the best solution to face Mendis.Just dont think too much about it. Look Gambhir the way he got out it looks that he was in a different world thinking about some thing else.Same with Yuvi and Dhoni. THey are too concious to play Mendis. No doubt he is a great bowler. ANd it is a great feeling to see such a unique bowler after so many decades in the crop of off spinners, leg breaks . And in this they forget that SL has too good bowlers like Vaas and Murli.. who can still devastate any team. So Mantra should be free your mind with all hype and play straigt as much as possible with bat.

  • POSTED BY Longmemory on | August 19, 2008, 3:37 GMT

    After so many years of watching bowlers, especially spinners, get bludgeoned all over the park, it is wonderful to see a couple of them holding their own. With heavy bats, smaller grounds, covered pitches, tight definitions of a wide, quaint rules like "give the benefit of the doubt to the batsman," "you cannot get an Lbw if the ball turns in from outside leg or off stump," and the rest of the nonsense justified in the name of tradition, the batsman have had it their way for far too long. May Mendis be the first of many bowlers to put flat-track bullies everywhere in their place. And let's face it, no country has more of the latter than India does. I am enjoying this spectacle immensely - and anyone interested in the longterm welfare of the game should too.

  • POSTED BY maheeboo on | August 19, 2008, 3:00 GMT

    Its the sport Challenges and the way of handling Challenges.

    I argue If you believe its not fare to bowl as Ajantha Mendis the mystery bowler of the year, how dare are you. If Ajantha Mendis a Indian then what you say. Do you need to see him bowling and continues to be the mystery bowler of the decade. It's his ability.

    Don't be unfair. He has a way to bowl and he is doing it accurately. If batsmen against him has to make their effort to handle the situation.

  • POSTED BY vivman on | August 19, 2008, 1:57 GMT

    I was hoping the Indian ODI team would have put a better performance than the ageing test team. But what's new?? No homework done on Mendis. Nothing learnt from past mistakes. Another crushing defeat! Team India never learn! Clueless batting! Sloppy fielding! It looks like a 'walk in the park' for Sri Lanka! I expect a 5-0 whitewash now that Sehwag has been ruled out.

  • POSTED BY Sharath.Komarraju on | August 18, 2008, 23:37 GMT

    I think we need to give credit where it's due. The man bowls four(?) different kinds of deliveries, lands most of them where he wants them to land and he does all of this with no perceptible change in action. He is also bowling on very receptive wickets. Given all this, I doubt any other country would have done better than India. It's only a matter of time, of course, before batsmen around the world work out ways to combat him; just that we haven't done it yet. The more we play him, the better we will get against him. No cause for worry.

  • POSTED BY Cannuck on | August 18, 2008, 21:47 GMT

    Looks like Indian players aren't the only ones over analyzing Mendis, but fans too. Yes, he did take 3 good wickets, but India was in trouble before he even bowled. The reason Mahela was able to hold back the M&M till the 19th over was because India couldn't deal with the opening bowlers. Also it's easy to write columns & comments about how to face a unique bowler, but another to actually do it on the field. Don't be hard on the Indian batsmen, I am sure they are not that bad, it's just Mendis is that unique. Even if anyone picks him off his fingers, his ball is released at a lower point in the action & comes quicker & flatter, leaving less time to react like regular flighted deliveries of spin. I can assure Indian fans, that you might be singing the praise of your batsmen, when other batsmen in the world, start facing him. So far it's only India who got to face him the most, so let's wait & see. It's going to be fun for us & a challenge for Mendis too, to face new teams.

  • POSTED BY speakthetruth on | August 18, 2008, 21:26 GMT

    I think the only way to play Mendis is to play like Sehwag did in test matches. Whenever he played Mendis, if he saw the ball, he smashed it. I think this is what all indian batsmen should adhere to for Mendis. If you see the ball, make contact with the bat as soon as it pitches and smash it hard. Since he bowls straight to the line of stumps, playing with pad would be foolishness, and thats why batting greats like dravid, sachin, sourav and laxman failed against him in test matches.

  • POSTED BY ladycricfan on | August 18, 2008, 20:48 GMT

    Mendis is just unplayable. He is hijacking the beautiful game of cricket into one man freak show. The whole world is going to struggle playing him. Even a scientist would find it hard to work out how to play him considering all the variations in angles and directions and speed and whatever else he creates. All batsmen are doing is block block block and try to survive and get out. They are just playing guessing game with him. They are unable to play normal game with other bowlers also. It is just not cricket. If he carries on like this, will it be good for cricket? need some serious debate. Rant over.....

  • POSTED BY sachin30127 on | August 18, 2008, 20:20 GMT

    I do not think it is Mendis that is the factor. It is the mental strength that is causing the problem.

  • POSTED BY grjustin on | August 18, 2008, 19:44 GMT

    Mendis is an unorthodox bowler and it requires some unorthodox batting to bell the cat. Indian test team tried to negate the effect of pace, spin and variation by taking long strides. Since Mendis is no Bret Lee, one way to tackle the speed is to open your stance a little more, in addition to taking long stride. This would give you enough time to read the spin and bring the bat down faster on the speedy ones. We should see more inside-out shots with this style of play.

  • POSTED BY boris6491 on | August 18, 2008, 17:31 GMT

    Mr Alter, you have hit the nail on the head when you said "Hard as it may sound, they need to take him out of the equation, stop worrying about him". This is the main problem for the Indians. They have overfocused on Mendis, particularly as you correctly stated in trying to read him. Though this should not be their concern. Rather than overanalysing him, they need to treat him as just a simple bowler rather than anything different. The Indians are making things too complex for themselves by overanalysing him. I think a more aggressive approach is required against a bowler like Mendis. He is young and inexperienced and the Indians must put him on the backfoot in order to pressurise him. Sehwag did this successfully in a test match where Mendis seldom even posed a slight threat to him. The cricket India have played is appalling and it is time they begin to understand that Mendis deserves respect as a bowler rather than looking to discover ways of beating him.

  • POSTED BY Superbat on | August 18, 2008, 17:20 GMT

    Congratulations Sri Lanka! As Expected It Was A Superb Team Work, Lead By One Of The Best Captains In The world. Mahela Played A Real Captains Roll. India Is Confused On How To Deal With Sri Lanka Attack. Dhoni Read The Pitch Wrong. India's Young Side Is Not Clicking. They Should Get A Good Motivator. The Best Way To Play Top Class Spin Bowling Is By Rotating The Strike. India Didn't Take The Quick Singles. Their Fielding Is 3rd Grade Stuff, Very Slow On The Field, They Look Lazy. It's Very Exciting To See Sri Lanka Play. They Corporate With Each Other Very Well, And Always In A Happy Mood.I Think They Will Be Very popular Around The World.India Will Have To Come Up With Some New Ideas, Or They Might Be Whitewashed In This Series. One Word About The Dambulla.It's A Beautiful Ground,real Sri Lankan Beauty. Well Done. Cheers!

  • POSTED BY p.viv on | August 18, 2008, 17:18 GMT

    There is no commitment in application. They need to have a positive attitude and face him rathar than to go in shell.

  • POSTED BY RomanAbramovich on | August 18, 2008, 16:52 GMT

    Indians are taking Mendis for granted. They always claim that they will not focus only on Mendis and play to the merit of each ball. Cant deny! But enough is enough.. how much can a finger spinner decieve a good batting line up. They must pull up their socks, watch his videos tirelessly till they are bored and have a pre-conceived notion of what the Mendis the menace will be bowling next !

  • POSTED BY davedave on | August 18, 2008, 16:37 GMT

    Although he is unorthodox he has lot of varieties and that could be the reason. Too much hype for this so called talented young team, as long as they play like this the fabulous four don't worry for their retirement. Although this young bunch had won the CB series (because of Sachin) their techniques, skills, temprament will be exposed when they play against quality teams like Aussies, SouthAfrica Srilanka. I think the selectors should reconsider the squad for the Champions Trophy.

  • POSTED BY Nampally on | August 18, 2008, 15:26 GMT

    Indian batting is heavily dependent on Sehwag. He is the only Indian who put the fear of God in Mendis. He completely off sets the opening bowlers with his aggression. Without Sehwag the Indian batting was like a ship without its captain. Unfortunately the only other Indian batsmen who can play the SL bowling with authority fell on the second ball. So the first thing is that it is important for India to get Sehwag back in the line up for the next game. Attack is the best form of defence and unless India can do this successfully it will be one sided series. Mendis should be attacked in Sehwag style. India has to get a 100 run opening partnership thru Sehwag and Gambhir and then build on it aggressively to a total of at least 250. Secondly we need some tight bowling and strong fielding. SL has match winning bowling but average batting which can be beaten up. India must learn to believe in themselves by playing aggressive Cricket and tame Mendis rather than being terrified of him.

  • POSTED BY satishforcricket on | August 18, 2008, 14:56 GMT

    Mendis is a new kinda bowler. Its not only India but the whole world will struggle. India will striggle more Because they are almost the first one to face the confident Mendis. Well this was no answer to the question so far.

    Coming to the real answer.It is struggling because he is a new kinda bowler.And am seeing different approachs going towards working him out. The experienced guys have been working through the older ways of proper technical ways of reading the hand and of the flight and pitch which hasnt worked too much though I havent seen Tendulkar get out to him yet. So he might just have an outside key to the trick. Sehwag has another key but for that you need to be able to htink and have the positives of a certain Sehwag. Which am sure guys like Petierson, Gayle who are equally blessed might be able to do. But for the rest it is still a steep climb up to be able to read and find a way to approach mendis. Am not sure the coaching stuff can do any much.

  • POSTED BY prjnua6 on | August 18, 2008, 14:46 GMT

    India's one day Team Requires experience player in the side who could tackle Mendis and Murali Right. The name which comes up in mind in absence of Sachin is Ganguly. He did not get out of Mendis in any test and he is been playing Murali from so long. He should be included in the one day team becuase he is one day specialist from the beginning. Otherwise India is going to lose one day series as well.....

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  • POSTED BY prjnua6 on | August 18, 2008, 14:46 GMT

    India's one day Team Requires experience player in the side who could tackle Mendis and Murali Right. The name which comes up in mind in absence of Sachin is Ganguly. He did not get out of Mendis in any test and he is been playing Murali from so long. He should be included in the one day team becuase he is one day specialist from the beginning. Otherwise India is going to lose one day series as well.....

  • POSTED BY satishforcricket on | August 18, 2008, 14:56 GMT

    Mendis is a new kinda bowler. Its not only India but the whole world will struggle. India will striggle more Because they are almost the first one to face the confident Mendis. Well this was no answer to the question so far.

    Coming to the real answer.It is struggling because he is a new kinda bowler.And am seeing different approachs going towards working him out. The experienced guys have been working through the older ways of proper technical ways of reading the hand and of the flight and pitch which hasnt worked too much though I havent seen Tendulkar get out to him yet. So he might just have an outside key to the trick. Sehwag has another key but for that you need to be able to htink and have the positives of a certain Sehwag. Which am sure guys like Petierson, Gayle who are equally blessed might be able to do. But for the rest it is still a steep climb up to be able to read and find a way to approach mendis. Am not sure the coaching stuff can do any much.

  • POSTED BY Nampally on | August 18, 2008, 15:26 GMT

    Indian batting is heavily dependent on Sehwag. He is the only Indian who put the fear of God in Mendis. He completely off sets the opening bowlers with his aggression. Without Sehwag the Indian batting was like a ship without its captain. Unfortunately the only other Indian batsmen who can play the SL bowling with authority fell on the second ball. So the first thing is that it is important for India to get Sehwag back in the line up for the next game. Attack is the best form of defence and unless India can do this successfully it will be one sided series. Mendis should be attacked in Sehwag style. India has to get a 100 run opening partnership thru Sehwag and Gambhir and then build on it aggressively to a total of at least 250. Secondly we need some tight bowling and strong fielding. SL has match winning bowling but average batting which can be beaten up. India must learn to believe in themselves by playing aggressive Cricket and tame Mendis rather than being terrified of him.

  • POSTED BY davedave on | August 18, 2008, 16:37 GMT

    Although he is unorthodox he has lot of varieties and that could be the reason. Too much hype for this so called talented young team, as long as they play like this the fabulous four don't worry for their retirement. Although this young bunch had won the CB series (because of Sachin) their techniques, skills, temprament will be exposed when they play against quality teams like Aussies, SouthAfrica Srilanka. I think the selectors should reconsider the squad for the Champions Trophy.

  • POSTED BY RomanAbramovich on | August 18, 2008, 16:52 GMT

    Indians are taking Mendis for granted. They always claim that they will not focus only on Mendis and play to the merit of each ball. Cant deny! But enough is enough.. how much can a finger spinner decieve a good batting line up. They must pull up their socks, watch his videos tirelessly till they are bored and have a pre-conceived notion of what the Mendis the menace will be bowling next !

  • POSTED BY p.viv on | August 18, 2008, 17:18 GMT

    There is no commitment in application. They need to have a positive attitude and face him rathar than to go in shell.

  • POSTED BY Superbat on | August 18, 2008, 17:20 GMT

    Congratulations Sri Lanka! As Expected It Was A Superb Team Work, Lead By One Of The Best Captains In The world. Mahela Played A Real Captains Roll. India Is Confused On How To Deal With Sri Lanka Attack. Dhoni Read The Pitch Wrong. India's Young Side Is Not Clicking. They Should Get A Good Motivator. The Best Way To Play Top Class Spin Bowling Is By Rotating The Strike. India Didn't Take The Quick Singles. Their Fielding Is 3rd Grade Stuff, Very Slow On The Field, They Look Lazy. It's Very Exciting To See Sri Lanka Play. They Corporate With Each Other Very Well, And Always In A Happy Mood.I Think They Will Be Very popular Around The World.India Will Have To Come Up With Some New Ideas, Or They Might Be Whitewashed In This Series. One Word About The Dambulla.It's A Beautiful Ground,real Sri Lankan Beauty. Well Done. Cheers!

  • POSTED BY boris6491 on | August 18, 2008, 17:31 GMT

    Mr Alter, you have hit the nail on the head when you said "Hard as it may sound, they need to take him out of the equation, stop worrying about him". This is the main problem for the Indians. They have overfocused on Mendis, particularly as you correctly stated in trying to read him. Though this should not be their concern. Rather than overanalysing him, they need to treat him as just a simple bowler rather than anything different. The Indians are making things too complex for themselves by overanalysing him. I think a more aggressive approach is required against a bowler like Mendis. He is young and inexperienced and the Indians must put him on the backfoot in order to pressurise him. Sehwag did this successfully in a test match where Mendis seldom even posed a slight threat to him. The cricket India have played is appalling and it is time they begin to understand that Mendis deserves respect as a bowler rather than looking to discover ways of beating him.

  • POSTED BY grjustin on | August 18, 2008, 19:44 GMT

    Mendis is an unorthodox bowler and it requires some unorthodox batting to bell the cat. Indian test team tried to negate the effect of pace, spin and variation by taking long strides. Since Mendis is no Bret Lee, one way to tackle the speed is to open your stance a little more, in addition to taking long stride. This would give you enough time to read the spin and bring the bat down faster on the speedy ones. We should see more inside-out shots with this style of play.

  • POSTED BY sachin30127 on | August 18, 2008, 20:20 GMT

    I do not think it is Mendis that is the factor. It is the mental strength that is causing the problem.