Mendis magic destroys Indians

Chris DHAMBARAGE

Mystery spinner Ajantha Mendis provided a glimpse of what he has in store for the Indians during the upcoming three test series by bowling out the touring team almost single handedly on the second day of their three day practice match against the Sri Lanka Board President’s XI which continued at the Colts grounds in Havelock Park yesterday.

Mendis who is set to take over the reigns from Muttiah Muralitharan after the first Test in Galle won a huge psychological battle as he took a superb six wicket haul to bundle out a star studded Indian batting line up for 291 runs.

As a result the Sri Lanka Board President’s XI obtained a massive first innings lead of 223 runs after they had earlier rattled up a mammoth 514 for 9 in their first innings.

However skipper Thilan Samaraweera opted to bat instead of enforcing the follow on but bad light prevented them from commencing the innings. Yuvraj Singh’s fighting century was the only consolation for India who otherwise would have been bowled out for under 200 runs.

Yuvraj Singh hoisted six sixes and struck eleven boundaries but his innings was curtailed to a certain extent while suffering from cramps during the latter stages of the innings.

In fact India were struggling at 80 for 4 at one stage before Yuvraj Singh joined opener Gautham Gambhir to add 143 useful runs for the fifth wicket. Gambhir who was dropped on a couple of occasions made a battling 89 with 13 boundaries.

His dismissal also signaled a middle order collapse as India lost their last six wickets for just 67 runs and were bowled out well inside two sessions. The chief wrecker was Ajantha Mendis who created panic among the Indian top order with his clever variation and accuracy.

Among his victims was the cream of the Indian batting including Gautham Gambhir, Sachin Tendulkar and V. V. S. Laxman who were all confused and mesmerized at the crease.

Mendis then ran through the Indian late order batting while adding three more wickets to his tally and finish off the innings on a high note. Earlier fast bowler Chanaka Welagedera struck twice during his opening spell to put the visitors under tremendous pressure from the start. This was after the Sri Lanka Board President’s XI had carried their first innings to an imposing 514 for 9 before declaring shortly before the lunch interval. Dinesh Chandimal batting at number six impressed with an unbeaten 47 which was studded with one six and eight boundaries.

Courtesy: Daily News