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With M&M out, Mendis takes centrestage

With Murali retired and Malinga injured, young sensation Ajantha Mendis, who was dropped for the first Test in Galle due to a dip in form, takes centrestage for the second Test against India.

cricket Updated: Jul 26, 2010 02:06 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times

For a better part of the last two years, M & M magic has been the secret of Sri Lanka's success in the Test arena.

The spin duo of veteran Muttiah Muralitharan and young sensation Ajantha Mendis anchored a lot of Sri Lankan victories ever since the latter's sensational debut against India two years ago.

Though Mendis was dropped for the first Test in Galle due to a dip in form, the M & M magic still continued with Lasith Malinga joining Muralitharan to register a memorable victory for Sri Lanka in what was the great offspinner's last Test.

However, with Murali retired and Malinga injured, Sri Lanka will sorely miss one half of the M factor despite Mendis being assured of a place in the eleven.

Despite his impressive six-wicket haul against the Indians in the warm-up tie two weeks ago, it would be too much to expect Mendis to shoulder double responsibility in his comeback Test.

But skipper Kumar Sangakkara, who was involved in an animated discussion with chairman of selectors Aravinda de Silva about the best bowling combination, did not express his concern about the absence of Muralitharan and Malinga in Sunday's interaction with the media.

“You kind of change your plans a bit, but the attitude remains the same. All bowlers are different. How you plan with Lasith to take a wicket is different from with (Chanaka) Welegedara, (Dammika) Prasad or Dilhara (Fernando),” Sangakkar said.

“They are all effective in their own way. You just need to make sure that you adapt to the situation and the wickets that we are faced with and how the batsmen are scoring. As long as we keep to our plan, whatever surprises come your way can be overcome.

“Test cricket is about being consistent. In length, in line and make sure you put lot of pressure on batsmen continuously, not in just one session, but over four five sessions. It's going to be a challenge, but I am sure the boys are going to enjoy
the experience.”

First Published: Jul 26, 2010 00:15 IST