39 matches, 66 wickets, best of 6/8 and an average of 14.4 with two five-wicket hauls – these are the sensational stats of Ajantha Mendis in T20 internationals. Looking at these one would be inclined to term the mystery spinner as a T20 great. Well, the figures are exceptional without doubt, but while he has had a superb career overall so far, there have also been days when he has been abysmal, like the game against England on Thursday. We pick a few instances where Mendis proved to be easy meat for the batsmen.
0/52 vs England: In this match of the ongoing edition played at Chittagong on Thursday, it was Mendis’ performance that stood out like a sore thumb for Sri Lanka. He never looked threatening in any of his overs. He conceded 10 runs in his first over and 13 in his third as Alex Hales and Eoin Morgan got the measure of him. But, it was his final over that clinched the deal for England. Hales smashed him for three sixes and a four, that too to various corners of the park. 25 runs came off that over and the momentum had completely shifted towards England. Not surprisingly, they eased to victory.
1/44 vs South Africa: Sri Lanka won the match played earlier in the ongoing edition, but Mendis was again highly ineffective. He conceded 11 runs in his first over, with Duminy smashing him for a six and a four. Mendis again conceded 11 in his second over to take the pressure off the South Africans. After giving away only 7 runs in his third, he was smashed for 17 runs in his fourth as Albie Morkel hit back to back sixes. Mendis had the last laugh when he got Morkel out in the same over. Lanka held their nerve to win the match.
0/42 vs Australia: This was a group match of the 2010 ICC World T20 played at Barbados. Mendis could not make any sort of impression on Australia in spite of them having lost early wickets. Cameron White hit him for a six in his very first over where he conceded 10. After a good second over he returned later, only to be smashed for 12 runs in his third – White picking up a four and six off him. He was brought back to bowl the 19th over of the innings, in which he gave away 15 – White clobbering him for two sixes this time. Australia eased to an 81-run triumph in the encounter.
0/48: Sri Lanka bowled first in this game of the 2012 World T20 at Pallekele and Mendis struggled even against usual spin suspects New Zealand. Mendis began with 10 runs in his first over, and had a reasonable second one conceding 9. Mendis then dismissed Brendon McCullum in this third giving away only 5. In his final over however, he was smashed for three sixes by Nicol as he conceded 24. The game ended in a tie, but Sri Lanka won the one-over eliminator.
--By A Cricket Analyst