Kusal Mendis leads Sri Lanka’s grim fight vs India in Colombo with classy ton | india-vs-sri-lanka-2017 | Hindustan Times
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Kusal Mendis leads Sri Lanka’s grim fight vs India in Colombo with classy ton

Being termed as the next big thing in Sri Lanka cricket, Kusal Mendis blazed away to a hundred on the third day of the second Test against India in Colombo on Saturday

india vs sri lanka 2017 Updated: Aug 05, 2017 16:35 IST
Sri Lanka’s Kusal Mendis plays a shot during the third day of the second Test match against India at the Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC) Ground in Colombo on Saturday.
Sri Lanka’s Kusal Mendis plays a shot during the third day of the second Test match against India at the Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC) Ground in Colombo on Saturday.(AFP)

Kusal Mendis smashed an attacking century (120 balls, 16 fours) to give this Indian side the first glimpse of the talent the 22-year-old Sri Lankan batsman is blessed with. Being termed as the next big thing in Sri Lanka cricket, Mendis blazed away to a hundred on the third day of the second Test on Saturday, using the horizontal-batted shots to good effect against the spinners, at the homeground of Mahela Jayawardene, whose role he is tipped to perform in the team and become the lynchpin of batting. (Day 3 updates | Scorecard)

The test of all good players is how they measure up under pressure, and though Mendis had started poorly against India, all three of his hundreds of his budding career have been impressive because they have come when his team is in trouble.

Mendis announced his arrival with a stunning century against Australia in his seventh Test, a game-changing 176 in the second essay in 2016. His second was a match-winning 194 against Bangladesh at Galle in March this year.

He had looked good in the second innings at Galle, getting a 36 before absent-mindedly following a Jadeja delivery to get a faint edge. In the first innings of the second Test here he was again faulted for a lack of application, lofting a catch to mid-on with his team in trouble.

Even though it may not have a bearing on the result of the game, the hundred against the world’s top-ranked side on Saturday evening will do a world of good to Mendis’ confidence.

Sri Lanka’s second innings too started on a poor note when Upul Tharanga was bowled by Umesh Yadav in the third over. However, Mendis came in and straightaway went for his shots. He put off the threat of R Ashwin by targeting the midwicket region, using the cross-batted shot to good effect whenever the spinner gave air.