Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Ajantha Mendis haters have begun

After two below normal par ODI's, and due to the high standards set by Mendis, the 'experts' claim he is over hyped and now no longer a mystery.

Ajantha Mendis a world-class bowler? Only if you believe the media ...
Sportingo, Israel - Jul 30, 2008
by ganesh s on 30 July 2008 Of late, every news channel that I tune into and every newspaper that I come across has something to say about Ajantha Mendis as ...

Team India breaks Ajantha Mendis' magical web
Merinews, India - 9 hours ago
Indians, as of now, seem to have found ways to tackle this magician in Mendis- the nemesis of India in recent times. AJANTHA MENDIS- the magician of cricket ...

Aggressive batting can tame Mendis: Srinath

Aggressive batting can tame Mendis: Srinath, India - Aug 21, 2008
Mumbai: Former Indian speedster Javagal Srinath said spin sensation Ajantha Mendis can be tamed with calculated but aggressive approach by the Indian top ...

Murali and Mendis set to join great spin duos

Murali and Mendis set to join great spin duos
Sify, India - Aug 23, 2008
And if their recent deeds are anything to go by, then Muthiah Muralitharan and Ajantha Mendis are almost certain to join the great spin duos in cricket ...

Mendis an unusual spinner: Dhoni

Mendis an unusual spinner: Dhoni
Daily Times, Pakistan - Aug 18, 2008
DAMBULLA: India one-day captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Monday conceded it was not easy to read Sri Lanka’s unorthodox spinner Ajantha Mendis. ...

Mendis needs to stand test of time: Buchanan

Mendis needs to stand test of time: Buchanan, India - Aug 26, 2008
Praising the performance of Sri Lanka's mystery bowler Ajantha Mendis against the star-studded Indian batting line-up in the just ...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The ‘Fab Four’ look forlorn against Mendis

The ‘Fab Four’ look forlorn against Mendis
Sify, India - Aug 17, 2008
If today there are questions being asked about the Fab Four's position in the Indian team, it can be marked down to their uncertainty in playing a spinner playing in his first Test series. In the past, the ‘Fab Four’ may have had the odd awkward moment batting against the two spin magicians - Shane Warne and Muttiah Muralitharan - but never have they looked as forlorn as against Ajantha Mendis. It was Mendis playing in his first Test series who should have looked nervous, instead it was the ‘Fab Four’ who seemed to be the ones inactive with nerves.

'Modern cricketing gear make Mendis difficult to crack'

Modern cricketing gear make Mendis difficult to crack'

Dambulla (SL), August 19:: The state-of-the-art cricketing equipment make it difficult to crack an already cryptic bowling action of spinner Ajantha Mendis, feels a sports expert.

"Modern gears utilised in cricket today perhaps insulates the feeling from the ball as it comes to the bat," said former Sri Lankan cricketer and sports expert Ranil Abeynaike said.

"Batsmen a few years ago could have read Mendis better if he had been bowling at that time," he added.

However, he feels Indian batsmen can crack him if they watch every ball of his.

"The Indian batsmen will have to play according to each ball of Mendis and would have to observe him while taking him on. Every bowler has some distinct pattern of bowling either through his shoulder movement or hand action and that is what could be central to tackle Mendis," he said.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Freak Streak

Over the last few years Sri Lanka have had quite a few self-styled unorthodox cricketers coming through - Sanath ... (more)

Mendis not a permanent threat - Dhoni

Mendis not a permanent threat - Dhoni, UK
Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the Indian captain, has said that Ajantha Mendis was an unusual bowler in comparison to Muttiah Muralitharan, but it's only a matter ...

Clueless India sink into Mendis mire once again

Clueless India sink into Mendis mire once again, Pakistan

Dambulla: So much for pre-match hype and the rhetoric that went with it, like an emphatic exclamation mark that was to have signalled Indian success at the start of this ODI series.
It was left as to sag as does a slowly deflating hot air balloon, punctured as it was with the dismissal of Gautam Gambhir the second ball of the match. Sri Lanka`s control was not relinquished throughout the following 80.5 overs of the game.

As rain clouds gathered in the south-east, Sri Lanka closed in on an efficient and clinical eight-wicket victory to mark the start of their latest ODI series against India at Rangiri Stadium. It left yet again more than enough questions for India`s young, and to a point inexperienced guns, outplayed again in a second successive limited-overs game.

Both teams went in with a six-five combination, but now India may revise their thinking after this defeat.

Sri Lanka, as they largely did through much of the Test series, were highly professional. Also, the discipline shown by their bowlers, which continues to confront and confuse the Indian batsmen, is quite remarkable in its direction and pressure.

Also, Mahela Jayawardene batted with typical style and panache for an undefeated 61 as he and Chamara Kapugedera became involved in an unbroken match-winning partnership of 102 for the third wicket. Jayawardene was unhurried as he batted his way through the 116 minutes. It is not the matter of balls faced or minutes batted that matters here, but the way he put the innings together that always left him largely in control of the situation.

Sri Lanka reached the 147 needed for victory of 34.5 overs in reply to the tourists 146 in 46 overs of often hesitant batting.

Yet, as with the Tests, where man of the series Ajantha Mendis along with Muttiah Muralitharan dominated with 47 wickets out of 60, so too did they pull the same mesmerising puppet strings with three wickets apiece in this opening game. Mendis, with three for 21 off nine overs won man of the match and is becoming quite a concern for India.

While Sri Lanka lost their openers early on, the pitch, as Jayawardene and Kapugedera showed, was easy enough to bat on. The captain square cut with precision and drove with elegant ease. He did much to pull Kapugedara through whatever concerns the younger man may have had in trying to bat through the rest of the partnership.

It is where Jayawardene`s calmness saw him score without too many problems and shows that a little more application and skill from India`s batsmen would have at least put a competitive total on the board.

Instead, and in what can only be described as an abject batting performance, India were routed for their lowest ODI total in Sri Lanka. It wouldn`t have been a pretty sight to watch either for the Indian selectors as the five-match series opened with a humiliating defeat.

From the second ball of the game when Gambhir was bowled by veteran Chaminda Vaas, the innings continually tottered on the brink of a collapse against tidy, accurate bowling.

Even the final total of 146 owes its longevity of 46 overs to a last wicket partnership of 29 between Munaf Patel and Pragyan Ojha.

Sure, India went into the game without the experience of Virender Sehwag, ruled out Sunday night after an examination of his swollen ankle, hit by a ball during a practice session. But this didn`t suggest that India would continue to struggle against the spin of Mendis and Muralitharan well supported by the frontline seam bowlers.

Yuvraj Singh, arriving as early as the eighth over of the innings with only 23 runs on the board, showed a spark of promise when he hoisted Mendis over long on for six. The next delivery, found him stretching too far forward, the bat angled from the body, as he edged the ball into the stumps: beaten by the pace of the delivery off the pitch.

Whatever plans he had to rescue the innings partly went with him for when Mendis was brought on at the scoreboard end the score was 67-3; it then subsided in the Mendis quicksand as 73-3 became 87-7 and whatever hopes of a rescue bid floundered.

There wasn`t much to follow either as a succession of frustrated strokes and edges may have added runs to the total, but it became an agonising effort as without partnerships and continued pressure, building any sort of total needed failed to materialise.

India`s previous lowest total at the Dambulla venue is 205-9 in 2005, but at least it was competitive while their lowest on the island before this effort had been 163 in 1998 at the Sinhalese Sports Club.

Jayawardene`s handling of the bowling was what added to India`s problems as he didn`t bring Mendis into the attack until the 20th over and Murali six overs later. Mendis picked up three for 21 more while Murlai`s 10 overs earned him a return of three for 37.

‘Unusual’ Mendis continues to torment

Hindustan Times: Mahendra Singh Dhoni has never seen a bowler like Ajantha Mendis, and even after playing him a couple of times it's not clear just what method will work against the unorthodox spinner. "The trouble is in picking him, I have not seen any bowler like this. He is an unusual bowler. The only option right now is to play more and more of him, that's the only way of getting better," said Dhoni, soon after India slumped to a big loss in the first ODI.

But even on the occasions that the batsmen have been able to pick Mendis' variations, the going has been difficult. "Even if you pick him, by the time you realise what ball it is, it gets really late to play a big shot. You will see batsmen who can play him, but in one-day cricket it is not only about playing him. You have to rotate the strike because you don't want a bowler to end up with ten overs for 20 runs," said Dhoni. "We will need to find a way by which we can rotate the strike, if not play big shots. You can't score 180 or 200 and look to defend that. You have to get a decent score for which we will have to score off each and every bowler."

While Mendis walked away with the big wickets, Muttiah Muralitharan, introduced as late as the 27th over, chipped in with three of his own.

"Murali and Mendis are different bowlers. Murali can turn the ball on any wicket. He loves Sri Lankan wickets," said Dhoni. "Even when he bowls fast, he gets some purchase out of the wicket. No other spinner would have got so much turn."

Dhoni also underscored the importance of batsmen getting good starts before Mendis and Murali came on. "It's important to get a good start. In the last two games, we lost quick wickets. When you are playing Mendis, you have to save wickets and get the runs as well," he said. "It gets a bit tough. With time, batsmen will get used to it. Even Murali sometime back, was difficult. Mendis is a bit more unusual than Muralitharan."

Dhoni also admitted that he had misread the pitch and perhaps fielding first would have been a better option.

"To start with, we misread the wicket a bit. We did not think it would seam or swing that much," he said. "There was a fair bit in the wicket to start off. The Sri Lankan bowlers bowled really well. They got the first two batsmen out, it was not like the batsmen played bad shots and got out. Credit goes to their fast bowlers."

Dhoni also conceded that the team might consider playing an extra batsman in the games to follow. "We may look at a different composition as well," he said. "Whatever fits the team best, we will decide on that."

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Murali delighted at Mendis emergence

Murali delighted at Mendis emergence

Sri Lanka star Muttiah Muralitharan believes the emergence of young spinner Ajantha Mendis will help prolong his own career.

Muralitharan, 36, and 23-year-old Mendis formed a formidable partnership in the first Test thrashing of India, taking 19 of the 20 wickets between them.

"He's one of the most talented guys I've seen," said Muralitharan, the world's leading Test wicket taker. "He's our future."

He added: "When I started, way back in 1992, I could bowl only off-spin. Although I was a bigger turner, he has more variation.

"I want to play until the World Cup (in 2011). Now that Ajantha has come, I can play for a few more years. It's not a joke, I'm serious. Because of his presence my bowling will be reduced. Bowling 50 overs every innings is a huge task.

"If I bowl 30 to 35 overs I will be happy as I am ageing. The job will be easier for me."

Handling Mendis is up to the individual - Dhoni

Handling Mendis is up to the individual - Dhoni, UK
No surprise that most of them focused around the man who snatched almost half of the Indian wickets in the Test series, Ajantha Mendis. ...

Still cracking the Mendis code [???]

India had few answers for Ajantha. Now the rest of the world will be poring over the footage to solve the puzzle

So, will the footage of the Test series give any clues to unraveling the Mendis mystery? The answer to that question is not in the Galle section of the video, where Sehwag was stepping out and hitting Mendis. Vital tips are probably hidden in the final chapter, in which Dravid and Laxman were forging a partnership on the final morning of the series — playing forward, showing the full face of the bat, smothering the spin and rotating the strike.

The duo achieved that comfort level only after they were foxed several times in five innings.

Coaches and computer analysts can dissect Mendis’s bowling, but the Indian series will only give them cryptic clues to this complex cricketing crossword.

Sandeep Dwivedi for the Indian Express.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Cricinfo: The summer of Mendis

This series will always be remembered for the startling effect Ajantha Mendis had on India, starting and ending with his dismissals of Rahul Dravid. Mendis was undoubtedly the story of the summer but this was a Sri Lankan victory founded on consistency, determination and plenty from the supporting act. Cricinfo runs the rule over Sri Lanka's contributors to the 2-1 success.

Read the rest here

Mendis’s success: illustration of Lankan way

S. Ram Mahesh over at the Hindu writes:

Mendis’s success is an illustration of the Sri Lankan way of cricket. Where in some countries, unorthodoxy is frowned upon, beaten immediately into reassuringly recognisable patterns by coaches and guides limited by what’s passed on to them, in Sri Lanka, uniqueness is cultivated.

One needs look no further than the tripe Anil Kumble had to put up with in his early years — and indeed sometimes still — to get a sense of why freak talents and maverick methods don’t break though in other countries as readily they do in Sri Lanka.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Carrom Ball | Ajantha Mendis Vs Harbhajan Singh 2008


Ajantha Mendis | Maiden 10 wicket haul


Sri Lankan new spinner Ajantha Mendis sets on a world record.

Sri Lankan new spinner Ajantha Mendis sets on a world record as the 1st bowler who bags the highest number of wickets in a debut series. He has taken 25 wickets in his test debut series with India. Previously the record was held by Englishmen A.V.Bedsor with 24 wickets in 1946. Meanwhile, India were 161 for 5 in the second innings at stumps of the third day of the third and final test at P. Sara stadium yesterday. India now only leads 14 runs.


Mendis the difference: Harbhajan

Harbhajan Singh speaking to the Hindu has singled out Ajantha Mendis as the difference between India and Sri Lanka in the three Test series.

“The Sri Lankans have bowled really well, especially Mendis, he has been really consistent,” said the off-spinner, after the third day of the third Test. “He has been the guy who has changed the series for them. Without him I think Sri Lanka would have really struggled in this series. The way he has bowled is outstanding.”

Harbhajan added that he’d like to steal Mendis’s wicket-taking luck. “Obviously he is new in international cricket and the more people play against him the more they will get to see him and people will learn about him. He does have some variation but every bowler has variations.”