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Full name Balapuwaduge Ajantha Winslow Mendis
Born March 11, 1985, Moratuwa
Current age 29 years 140 days
Major teams Sri Lanka, Combined Provinces, Dhaka Gladiators, Hampshire, Kandurata Maroons, Kolkata Knight Riders, Mohammedan Sporting Club, Pune Warriors, Sri Lanka Army, Sri Lanka Board President's XI, Wayamba
Playing role Bowler
Batting style Right-hand bat
Bowling style Right-arm offbreak, Legbreak
|Test debut||Sri Lanka v India at Colombo (SSC), Jul 23-26, 2008 scorecard|
|Last Test||Sri Lanka v South Africa at Colombo (SSC), Jul 24-28, 2014 scorecard|
|ODI debut||West Indies v Sri Lanka at Port of Spain, Apr 10, 2008 scorecard|
|Last ODI||Sri Lanka v South Africa at Hambantota, Jul 12, 2014 scorecard|
|T20I debut||Sri Lanka v Zimbabwe at King City (NW), Oct 10, 2008 scorecard|
|Last T20I||England v Sri Lanka at Chittagong, Mar 27, 2014 scorecard|
|First-class debut||Lankan Cricket Club v Sri Lanka Army at Welisara, Nov 17-19, 2006 scorecard|
|Last First-class||Sri Lanka v South Africa at Colombo (SSC), Jul 24-28, 2014 scorecard|
|List A debut||Sri Lanka Army v Lankan Cricket Club at Colombo (RPS), Nov 8, 2006 scorecard|
|Last List A||Sri Lanka v South Africa at Hambantota, Jul 12, 2014 scorecard|
|Twenty20 debut||Sri Lanka Army v Ragama Cricket Club at Colombo (CCC), Feb 28, 2007 scorecard|
|Last Twenty20||Udarata Rulers v Southern Express at Colombo (SSC), Jul 2, 2014 scorecard|
|Bat & Bowl||Team||Opposition||Ground||Match Date||Scorecard|
|2, 0/68, 0/17||Sri Lanka||v South Africa||Colombo (SSC)||24 Jul 2014||Test # 2131|
|2/48, 0*||Sri Lanka||v South Africa||Hambantota||12 Jul 2014||ODI # 3502|
|2, 2/18||Sri Lanka||v South Africa||Pallekele||9 Jul 2014||ODI # 3501|
|3/61, 0||Sri Lanka||v South Africa||Colombo (RPS)||6 Jul 2014||ODI # 3500|
|3/27||Rulers||v Express||Colombo (SSC)||2 Jul 2014||T20|
|3/28||Rulers||v Troopers||Colombo (SSC)||28 Jun 2014||T20|
|1/21||Rulers||v Express||Colombo (SSC)||27 Jun 2014||T20|
|2/50||Sri Lanka||v England||Birmingham||3 Jun 2014||ODI # 3496|
|4*, 2/60||Sri Lanka||v England||Lord's||31 May 2014||ODI # 3495|
|1/24||Sri Lankans||v Sussex||Hove||18 May 2014||T20|
Ajantha Mendis reintroduced mystery to spin in the era of video analysts and super-slow-motion replays. Much like the original mystery spinner, Jack Iverson, and the other practitioner of the "Iversons", John Gleeson, Mendis stunned the world with his finger-flicked legbreaks. His Iversons came with a new name, the "carrom ball", taken from the way the striker is flicked in the popular board game in the subcontinent.
His first, most famous, and most comprehensive victims were the most prolific middle order of his time: Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman and Sourav Ganguly. Following closely on the heels of a six-for in the Asia Cup final against India's ODI side, Mendis made a sensational Test debut. He took eight wickets in his first Test and 26 in his first series, two more than Alec Bedser's record for a three-match debut series.
The early success was built as much on his variations - offbreaks, topspinners, carrom balls, googlies, ones that did nothing - as it was on accuracy and Muttiah Muralitharan's company. As the mystery wore, though, much like with Iverson and Gleeson, the world caught up with him, and Mendis failed to live up to the early promise. By the time Murali retired, Mendis was not ready to take over as the leading Sri Lankan spinner, a vast change from when he could have emerged as the leading spinner in the world.
Mendis continues to be an effective spinner in shorter formats where batsmen don't have much time to adjust. He holds the record for the best figures in a T20I innings, but fails to find a regular place in the Sri Lankan side for the longer formats. The rest of his career will be an exercise in trying to rediscover success, this time not through mystery but by being a really good spinner.
ICC Emerging Player of the Year 2008
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