Posts Tagged ‘mendis’

The First ODI between Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe was a little one-sided. The Second was a hammering, with the tourists winning by 9 wickets with 194 balls remaining.

There was little in these first two matches, then, that suggested the Third ODI would be a close run thing. Nevertheless, Sri Lanka scraped home by a mere 5 runs. Only the combined might of Muralitharan, Mendis and Thushara finally slowed the home side down, tipping the balance in an incredible 28-over thriller.

Whilst the political situation in Zimbabwe hasn’t improved at the rate I had hoped (and may even be getting worse), it seems the nation’s cricketers are still capable of giving a side like Sri Lanka a decent game.

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Is it wrong for me to get excited about Mendis coming to county cricket based on flimsy rumour?

Is it wrong for me to imagine that Lancashire‘s connections with Murali will lead the young Sri Lankan spinner to follow his teammate to Old Trafford?

Is it wrong for me to use such diaphanous rumour and speculation as the basis for a post?

Maybe, but I don’t care.

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Plus ça change….

The changes in personnel made little difference for India as the Young Guns proved just as susceptible as the Fab Four to the pyschological pressure of Mendis and Muralitharan.

The young mystery spinner took the Man of the Match award as India, bereft of Sehwag (who was one of the few who didn’t seem cowed by Mendis in the Test series, collapsed to 146 all out (youtube here).

Sri Lanka knocked off the required runs in no time (youtube here). With only two days until the next match, India have little time to regroup. Gulp.

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Following the capitulation of every Indian batsmen that wasn’t Sehwag or Gambhir in the first innings, the two openers continued to impress in India’s second innings against Sri Lanka.

There has been a notable although incremental improvement since the First Test in how India’s batsmen have coped with the bowling of Mendis and Muralitharan, which puts pressure on Sri Lanka’s weakened pace attack (which more or less means Vaas) to take wickets if the match is to be saved. How many runs Ganguly and Laxman make will be crucial, as only 14 runs were made by India’s bottom four in the first innings.

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Sehwagology gained another batch of converts today, as its Leader (who may or possibly may not have any brains, according to one non-believer) made an unbeaten ton, notable for the seeming ease with which he played the bowling of Ajantha Mendis, the scourge of Indian batsmen and claimer of two more wickets today (those of Gambhir and Dravid).

India could have been out of sight, but four wickets fell for only 11 runs, with Mendis making the breakthrough before Vaas snared Bollywood’s Sachin Tendulkar and Ganguly. Tomorrow is likely to be an interesting day of cricket.

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The old and the new in Sri Lankan spin bowling combined to devastating effect, to earn their side victory over India in the First Test by a whopping innings and 239 runs. (Various youtube highlights of Mendis and Murali’s wickets can be found here, here and here).

In all the fuss over Mendis, the original Sri Lankan spinning sensation may have been feeling a little left out, but his 11 wickets in this Test will be a reminder that there is a long way for Ajantha Mendis to go before he can be compared to a player of Muralitharan‘s stature.

As for India, where do they go from here? Questions will be asked of the batsmen, with only Laxman making 50 in either innings, but the bowlers who only took 6 wickets for the loss of 600 runs will also come under some pressure.

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Tomorrow, Sri Lanka take on India in the first Test of the series. Much of the talk has been about a certain Sri Lankan spinner, and not the usual one.

Sri Lanka will probably need both Mendis and Muralitharan to hit form, as Malinga and Fernando are both injured, meaning that the pace bowling attack looks unlikely to take 20 Indian wickets on its own.

From India’s point of view, this is nevertheless likely to be a difficult series. Aside from the fact that Dhoni will be ‘rested‘, India’s recent record in Sri Lanka isn’t great. Half of the Tests played between these two sides have been drawn, and the figure is even higher if only Tests in Sri Lanka are taken into account. Whether India’s bowling attack is good enough to fight that trend, I cannot say.

The series will also be notable for the trialling of the new umpire referrals. The cricketing world will be watching with interest.

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