Sri Lanka v Australia, 2nd Twenty20, Pallekele

Mendis developing new delivery

Sa'adi Thawfeeq

August 9, 2011

Comments: 24 | Text size: A | A

Ajantha Mendis is pumped up after bowling Brad Haddin first ball, Sri Lanka v Australia, 2nd Twenty20, Pallekele, August 8, 2011
Ajantha Mendis was unstoppable against Australia in the second of two Twenty20 games between the sides © Associated Press
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Players/Officials: Ajantha Mendis
Series/Tournaments: Australia tour of Sri Lanka
Teams: Sri Lanka

Ajantha Mendis, the Sri Lanka spinner who became the first bowler in Twenty20 International history to take six wickets, has said that he is in the process of developing a new delivery that he hopes to unveil in the near future.

Mendis bamboozled the Australia batting line-up in Monday's Twenty20, taking 6 for 16 off four overs as Sri Lanka successfully defended their total of 157 for 9 to win by eight runs and pocket the two-match series 2-0.

"I am developing a new ball but I haven't still tried it," Mendis said soon after being named Man of the Match. "Hopefully it will come out soon. I am very pleased to know that my effort is a world record. I didn't realize it was one. I really enjoyed what I did today and I am sure that it will give me confidence. I just wanted to bowl a good line and length and that worked off. The wicket also helped me a lot."

Mendis said that losing out on a place for the England one-day series was one reason why he was determined to succeed. "I worked extremely hard and put in lot of effort and when you work hard this is what happens. I worked extremely hard to get back into the team."

The game was slipping out of Sri Lanka's grasp when Mendis came on to bowl thanks to Shane Watson, who had bludgeoned 57 from 24 deliveries, and Mendis said his main intention was to curb the run-rate rather than take wickets. "I didn't want to give too many runs. We were trying to limit the runs more than pick up wickets. We had a plan and we bowled according to that plan. I mixed up my deliveries and I thought the catch Angelo Mathews helped take changed the complexion of the game."

Tillakaratne Dilshan, the Sri Lanka captain said he had every confidence in Mendis when he handed him the ball. "I knew the ball was going to turn and it was going to help him," Dilshan said. "He would be very handy for us throughout the ODI series."

Dilshan also said Mathews' effort on the boundary to dismiss David Warner was the turning point of the game. Mathews, fielding on the midwicket boundary, showed a remarkable piece of athleticism to catch a David Warner shot above his head, while running, and throw the ball back into play before he went over the boundary line for Mahela Jayawardene to complete the catch. Before Warner's dismissal Australia's chase was on track; they had reached 73 for 1 in seven overs.

"Once the catch was taken the momentum was back with us and our morale was very high," Dilshan said. "After getting off to a superb start, that catch put some pressure on the Australians." Dilshan, though, said there was still room for improvement for Sri Lanka in the field. "We spoke a lot about our fielding after the first Twenty20 win. I still believe that we can improve in certain areas. All our players are trying to improve and we are seeing the results. Australia are a very good fielding unit and if we can match their excellence on the field, the one-dayers will be a very good series."

Cameron White, Australia's Twenty20 captain, praised Mendis' performance in the second Twenty20 but thought things would get easier for the visitors in the ODI series because the team would be bolstered by more experienced players.

"Mendis showed tonight, he's a very good bowler," White said. "Clearly six wickets in a Twenty20 game for under six runs is an unbelievable effort. A couple of senior players coming back into the side, like Michael Clarke and Ricky Ponting, have seen a lot of Mendis so straight from the start they'll have a bit more experience. I think the more you get to face guys like that whom you haven't seen as much, it becomes easier."

Dilshan, however, said his side still had the upper hand going in to the ODIs. "The experience we gained in the two T20 matches has put us in a good mind frame. True, three senior players will be back in their side, with Ponting, Clarke and Michael Hussey joining the squad. But if we do the things that we do right, there's no reason why we shouldn't win the ODI series,"

On his part, Mendis said that he doesn't intend to make many changes for the upcoming five one-dayers. "I just want to bowl line and length and do the variations right. If I bowl well I know I can take wickets."

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Posted by Meety on (August 11, 2011, 0:20 GMT)

Well the Mendis 'threat' has been downgraded from category 5 cyclone to a strong wind gust! LOL! With the reinforced cavalry Oz saw him off for the loss of 1 wicket @ 5 rpo! Mendis WILL cause teams problems from time & quite PROBABLY will become a better bowler with age, Oz are NOT as bad at playing spin as what people think.

Posted by Guvner on (August 10, 2011, 14:16 GMT)

Aussies can't even pick him, so he should be happy. Another way he could bowl his deliveries is bowl them out the back of his hand. Murali did it and look where he is now.

Posted by jonesy2 on (August 10, 2011, 14:13 GMT)

haha i love this guy ay as an aussie supporter its great the challenge he throws up to top class batsmen, very unusual bowler and very skilled, why doesnt he always play for sri lanka?

Posted by Sobat on (August 10, 2011, 7:20 GMT)

wow i wonder is this Australia??? becos they said many times before Domestic cricket is much more competitive then test cricket in Aus...and is this wat they had to offer to a bowler who is trying to find his place back to the side??? maybe Zimbabwe would play better then them .... This is wat happens when u think big then wat u are ... the same happen to india as well.......... now the Manjekars Gavaskars ... Ravis are lost with there own words with the way india is playing now. where is the depth of batting they was bosting all the time?? if they had the depth why bring Dravid... ????

Posted by Shafi79 on (August 10, 2011, 7:06 GMT)

@Randy - c'mon mate, he's no Murali or Warne. But he's a good enough bowler and one who is known to have a lot of variations. He has already had a lot more than 15 mins of fame. Maybe u aussies dont watch cricket unless oz are playing but this is more like a comeback series for the kid. So dont make it seem like getting a second string Aussie side out in a T-20 is the high point of his career.

His first summer was amazing, where he ran through India in the Asia cup final, and then bamboozled the famed indian batting line up in the test series in SL. Those performances against a far more accomplished batting line up were what made him.

Sadly though as teams like IND & PAK have figured him out he has not been able to make an impact at all, and seemed to have lost all his confidence ... i fear he will now be reduced to playing home games against sides like AUS / NZ / SA / WI who are weak against spin ...

Posted by ygkd on (August 10, 2011, 6:51 GMT)

I'd say that a few of the Australian batsman have already been shown to have waited for a Mendis ball that never came - mostly because the deliveries were not going towards them, but round them! So I'd agree with Dean Frenkel. Nuture him Sri Lanka please.

Posted by   on (August 10, 2011, 6:07 GMT)

I think he is just making up to put more pressure and confuse the aussies.

Posted by Mannix16 on (August 10, 2011, 5:25 GMT)

This is a great deal of psychology Mendis is using here. Australians can barely pick him and then he "says" he is inventing a new ball. Even if he doesn't develop one, the Australian will think that he is and that will cause their demise

Posted by perl57 on (August 10, 2011, 5:11 GMT)

After Mendis' mystery delivery became a history delivery, thanks to one Sachin Tendulkar, even worst players of spin such as Yuvraj could decode him with no effort at all. Just like Kumble shuddered to bowl to the era of DeSilva-Aravinda, Mendis will shudder to bowl it to any subcontinent player. But for Oz and Eng, he sure will be a great bowler with old skills too. Good Luck Mendis. Just words of encouragement, I am not sure you would have done anything good in WC Finals. SL would have lost either ways.

Posted by   on (August 10, 2011, 3:41 GMT)

Ajantha is a really good baller.Only thing was he was having no more mystery after first appearance. but still he was so creative to make it happen again in a turning pitch against unbalanced Aussies.But with appearance of 3 most seniors it will be difficult. This same thing happened to murali & he was so creative to continue his journey with introducing new methods in balling. I firmly believe from the day saw Ajantha , he is the replacement for murali.Surely if he will be creative more will be having a good journey.Sri lanka cricket has to back him up & keep him in the team. that will give him the confidence to grow & trail on his variations . with having Randiv, Herath, Sachithra Senannayake, dilruwan like back up spinners will create a good opportunity us to develop a stronger attack & end of the day a winning combination.

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