Mendis makes T20 history in Sri Lanka win

Courtesy: International Cricket Council

Ajantha Mendis became the first bowler to bag six wickets in a Twenty20 international as Sri Lanka clinched the series 2-0 against Australia with an eight-run win in the second match on Monday.

The unorthodox spinner finished with 6-16 off four overs as Australia lost their way after an explosive start provided by Shane Watson, who hammered a 24-ball 57 with five sixes and six fours.

Australia, who lost the first match by 35 runs, were eventually restricted to 149-9, after the hosts made 157 at the Pallekele International Stadium.

Sri Lanka were indebted to opener Mahela Jayawardene (86 off 63 balls) for posting a competitive total before Mendis ended Australia’s early flourish. ‘ Angelo Mathews also caught the eye for Sri Lanka with his key role in David Warner’s dismissal off Mendis as he held a superb catch in the deep, but was about to step over the boundary line before relaying the ball to Jayawardene.

Watson dominated a 71-run stand for the opening wicket with Warner, but his dismissal in the sixth over triggered a collapse which saw Australia lose four wickets in the space of four runs.

Sri Lanka were earlier strongly placed at 121-3 after 14 overs before paceman John Hastings rallied his team to eventually finish with 3-14 off four tight overs.

Fast bowler Brett Lee was the other main wicket-taker with 3-39, including two wickets in the last over. Jayawardene dominated Australia’s attack with exciting strokeplay, smashing one six and 12 fours in his sixth half-century in Twenty20 internationals.

He survived on 82 when he was caught off a Lee full-toss in the last over, but it was ruled a no-ball as it was above the waist. He fell in the same over, caught in the deep going for a big shot.

Sri Lanka, electing to bat after winning the toss, lost skipper Tillakaratne Dilshan in the third over before being steadied by Jayawardene.

Dilshan, who hit an unbeaten century in the opening match, contributed just four runs this time before being trapped leg-before by Lee. Jayawardene then added 43 for the second wicket with Dinesh Chandimal (13) and 46 for the fourth with Kumar Sangakkara, who made a 16-ball 24.

  • S Perera

    I appreciate some of your comments but disagree with your assessment that he is unplayable. When he first came to the scene he was unknown an unorthodox but once he was studied, he became too much of a liability. He is still one hell of a player but he has lot to prove before he can be put on the same pedestal with Murali.

    About Sangakkar’s captaincy, I still think he is one of the best players and ambassidor that we ever had. He has contributed to Sri Lankan cricket a lot and we should appreciate guys like him. I wish to see him playing for a few more years as we have no one better to replace. Unfortunately, we have too many players playing in the team in the mid thirties and when they all retire, not sure if we’ve got back up players to replace them. The management should start thinking about continuity and start introducing younger ones. The likes of Silva should never play again and we also should look for a successor to Dilshan as he is also too old to continue as our captain for too long.

    On the subject of captaincy again, Angelo Mathews also need to buck up his ideas if he is to replace Dilshan as captain. I have not yet seen him consistently performing well enough to take on the captaincy. I like Dilshan but only as a player but not as our captain. Sangakkara should have stayed as captain for two more years and hand over the baton to someone in their late twenties so that they can hold on to the captaincy for three to five years.

  • PremasiriS

    I have reproduced here a comment that I have written on the ESPN Cricinfo Web site, just after our loss to England in the 1st Test played recently, which I feel that is quite appropriate here.

    Posted by PremasiriS on (May 31 2011, 02:04 AM GMT)
    Unlike many other sports a cricket team needs a leader who has calming influence over his fellow team mates, apart from being intelligent & tactful. Both the present & his predecessor lack these vital ingredients. Mahela, the best captain to lead the country after Ranjan Madugalle, was able to take best out of Mendis. He was intelligent enough to evaluate the special skills this loose limbed tall spinner has. With his deceptive variations, he could deliver an unplayable bowl on any moment with his extra loosed shoulder-joint that can be rotated at 360 degrees a thing other conventional bowlers can’t even think of. Neither Sangakkara nor Dilshan have had any respect for this timid world class bowler for things he has done in the past, they always try to isolate him for the slightest mistakes he does (i.e. b’cos he got famous in a very short period of time). (To be continued)
    Posted by PremasiriS on (May 31 2011, 02:04 AM GMT)
    Murali was a nothing bowler compared to Mendis when their earlier careers are compared. Once late Hansie Cronge hammered him all over the park which made Murali to go into hiding & to get his shoulder injured while fielding, but neither the team management nor the captain then, ever thought of dropping him even for a single match after his comeback. That is how you should treat your quality players. Mendis should be asked to bowl his away-going delivery more often and use the off-spinner & straight bowl occasionally as weapons depending on the type of the batsman. If justice were done to him there wasn’t a single rough spot to be worked with though Herath got enough, as all the fast bowlers are being right-arm over the wicket bowlers in this on-going match. Mendis is a unique bowler who can turn the bowl effortlessly with some marvelous accuracy. Desapite having many quality spinners in the Domestic scene S’tors always go for their hot-favorites (Herath&Randiv).