Thursday, June 23, 2011

Mendis, the other one, shows what Sri Lanka missed during World Cup

article_imageCourtesy - The Island By Rex Clementine  reporting from New Road

Jayasuriya played with the old charm cutting and pulling with brutal power.

Former S. Thomas’ cricketer Jeevan Mendis showed what Sri Lanka missed during the recent ICC Cricket World Cup hammering an entertaining 99 to help Sri Lanka to a 57 run win in their one-day warm up game against Worcestershire here at New Road yesterday.
Mendis was expected to make the cut for the World Cup, but narrowly missed out on selection. Post World Cup with the national team looking for new faces for the next phase of Sri Lankan cricket, Mendis looks to be staking claims to a permanent slot in the team’s middle order.

The 28-year-old left-hander, batting at number six, gave a glimpse of his potential when he reverse swept left-arm spinner Shaaiq Choudhry for four early on in his innings. Later when Choudhry returned for his second spell, he cleared the ropes on three successive occasions with the third one bringing up his half-century. On all three occasions the balls went to the nearby woods and new balls had to be called for.

He required three runs off the last ball of the Sri Lankan innings for his century, but could manage only two and was left stranded on 99. However, along with his batting skills, his ability to bowl leg spin is certain to make him a permanent fixture in the side when the ODIs begin. Unlike his namesake, Ajantha, Jeevan is also an exceptional fielder at covers.

Sri Lanka’s total of 351 was boosted by half-centuries from veteran Sanath Jayasuriya (78) and all-rounder Angelo Mathews (81).

Jayasuriya, who will retire after the first ODI against England at The Oval next week, played with the old charm, cutting and pulling with brutal power. Of the ten fours he hit, there was the old slash over slips and the ferocious cut that crossed the rope, one bounce. He reached his half-century off 39 balls and fell on 78 when his attempt to hit out Choudhry again failed. His 78 came in 60 balls with ten fours and three sixes.

Jayasuriya’s knock however, was overshadowed by the sensational effort of Mendis, who added 163 runs for the fifth wicket off just 127 balls with Mathews.

Mathews, playing his first game since missing the World Cup final due to injury, exhibited that he’s good enough to bat at the number five position of the national side. The all-rounder, who just turned 24 and was surprisingly overlooked for the vice-captain’s position, finished with 81 off 90 deliveries with five fours and two sixes.

Mahela Jayawardene opened the innings with Sanath Jayasuriya and looked solid, making 18 runs. But he was caught behind trying to cut Worcestershire’s overseas player Saeed Ajmal off the off-spinner’s second delivery for the county. Ajmal then dismissed the highly talented Dinesh Chandimal in the very next delivery when he trapped the wicketkeeper batsman leg before wicket.

The Sri Lankans had a moment of scare as 24-year-old opening batsman Moeen Ali led the Worcestershire fight back with a century. At one stage Worcestershire required 92 runs from 90 deliveries, but there weren’t enough contributions from the lower order to take them close to Sri Lanka’s mammoth total of 351.

Moeen made 136 off just 90 deliveries with 16 fours and three sixes. Ajantha Mendis finished with three wickets.

Sri Lanka Innings

M. Jayawardene ct Cox b Ajmal 18

S. Jayasuriya ct Ajmal b Choudhry 78

D. Chandimal bw b Ajmal 00

T. Kandamby ct Choudhry b Ajmal 35

A. Mathews ct Cameron b Whelan 81

J. Mendis not out 99

N. Kulasekara not out 13

Extras: (lb 7, w 20) 27

Total: for five wickets 351

Overs: 50

Fall of wickets: 1-56, 2-56, 3-131, 4-169, 5-332.

Did not bat: T. Perera, S. Randiv, L. Malinga and A. Mendis.

Bowling: Mason 5-1-32-0 (3w), Whelan 10-0-82-1 (9w), Ajmal 10-1-42-3 (1w), Ali 9-0-65-0, Mitchell 6-0-34-0-, Choudhry 7-0-69-1 (1w), Pinner 3-0-0-20-0.

Worcestershire Innings

Moeen Ali ct Chandimal b A. Mendis 136

J. Manuel ct Jayasuriya b Malinga 04

A. Kervezee ct Jayasuriya b A. Mendis 45

N. Pinner run out (J. Mendis) 03

J. Cameron ct A. Mendis b Jayasuriya 65

D. Mitchell b Jayasuriya 21

S. Choudhry lbw b Kulasekara 00

B. Coxnot out 08

Saeed Ajmal ct Jayawardene b A. Mendis 01

C. Whelan b Malinga 01

M. Mason b Malinga 00

Extras: (lb 6, w 3, nb 1) 10

Total: all out 294

Overs: 43.2

Fall of wickets: 1-8, 2-117, 3-127, 4-233, 5-270, 6-277, 7-289, 8-292, 9-294.

Bowling: Malinga 6.2-0-25-3 (1w) (1nb), Kulasekara 8-0-53-1 (1w), Perera 6-0-51-0, A. Mendis 9-0-68-3 (1w), Randiv 7-0-46-0, J. Mendis 3-0-28-0, Jayasuriya 4-0-17-2.

Toss: SL

Result: Sri Lanka won by 57 runs

Umpires: N. Cook and G. Lloyd.