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July 2008
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Performance of the week: Ajantha Mendis

July 9th, 2008 by TWC in International, One-day cricket and tagged , , ,

2. Ajantha Mendis 6-13, Sri Lanka v India, Karachi, July 6 2008.

For those who believe that one-day teams should pick bowlers who take wickets rather than “mix up the pace and keep it tight”, Sunday brought two cheering performances.

In St Kitts, Australia’s Mitchell Johnson dismissed Chris Gayle and Ramnaresh Sarwan for just 12 runs, then blew away the tail to finish with 5-29 – but, as so often, his batsmen had racked up 341 making attacking bowling much easier. On the other side of the world, in Karachi, Mahela Jayawadene tossed the ball to young mystery spinner Ajantha Mendis with India 76-1 after 9 overs and the frightening prospect of Virender Sehwag in full cry at the other end. Two balls later, Sehwag was bamboozled and comprehensively stumped. Seven overs later, Mendis had added the scalps of Yuvraj, Raina and Sharma and Sri Lanka had the match as good as won.

Mendis finished with figures of 8-1-13-6 and, for his reminder that wicket-taking can win ODIs too, a Performance of the Week Award. Here’s his mystery demonstrated if not explained.

By Gary Naylor

Posted in International, One-day cricket | 9 Comments »

John Stern: Reasons to love Freddie no. 712

July 9th, 2008 by John Stern in County cricket, England, South Africa in England, Twenty20

Middlesex’s Dawid Malan has just flayed Flintoff’s Lancashire team-mates (though not Flintoff himself) round The Oval in a Twenty20 quarter-final changing century.

Flintoff returns to dismiss Malan and as the young left-hander started the
long walk of acclamataion towards the pavilion, Fred turned and walked after
Malan, tapped him on the shoulder and shook him heartily and earnestly by
the hand.

This is not a sign of weakness, in fact the exact opposite. Flintoff
encompasses all the best elements of sportsmanship - ­ his effort is never
less than whole-hearted yet, even in the heat of combat, he can keep things
in perspective. He is generous in victory and defeat.

When he batted, he could have won the game for Lancashire. He had made 53
before hitting a Steve Finn full toss straight down deep square leg’s
throat. He looked gutted, inconsolable. But he wasn’t angry or petulant. He
just sat, looking sad on the bench. He knew he could have won it and he knew
that with his dismissal went Lancashire’s chances. But at the end, he was
first in the queue of Lancashire players to shake the hands of the
triumphant Middlesex players.

I’m a Middlesex fan and I’m chuffed for the men in pink but Flintoff was
mighty and magnificent last night. Good on yer Fred. Can’t wait to see you
back in the Test side.

John Stern is editor of The Wisden Cricketer

Posted in County cricket, England, South Africa in England, Twenty20 | 4 Comments »

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