Birthday special: Ajantha Mendis – Top 3 spells in international cricket


Ajantha Mendis made his Test debut against India in 2008 and made the headlines by taking the wickets of Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman in both innings. However, compared to Muthiah Muralitharan and Rangana Herath, he was not able to enjoy a lengthy international career.  But was able to leave a big legacy behind in Sri Lankan cricket with wickets on big occasions.

His international career lasted only eight years but the off-spinner left a big mark in white-ball cricket. Mendis took 70 wickets from 19 Tests at an average of 34.77 with four five-wicket hauls. He bagged 152 wickets from just 84 ODI innings at an impressive average of 21.86 and 66 wickets from 29 T20Is at an unbelievable average of 14.42.

The 37-year-old holds the world record of quickest to 50 wickets, having reached their in 19 ODIs. At the time of his retirement in T20Is in 2014, he was the only bowler to take six wickets in an innings in T20Is. As he celebrates his birthday today on March 11, let us take a look at his top three spells in international cricket.

8/132 against India in a Test, 2008

Mendis made his Test debut in July 2008 against India in the first match of the series in Colombo. He took four wickets each innings as Sri Lanka won the match by an innings and 239 runs. He took crucial wickets of Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman in both innings and became the first Sri Lankan to take eight wickets on a Test debut.

6/13 against India in ODI, 2008

Sri Lanka stunned India in the final of the 2008 Asia Cup in Karachi after the heroics from Mendis. He bowled his career-best spell of 6/13 to bowl out India on just 173 runs while defending 273. He also won the Player of the Tournament, taking 17 wickets to continue his terrific start in international cricket.

6/8 against Zimbabwe in T20I, 2012

Mendis’ biggest contribution came during the 2012 T20 World Cup, where he bagged the highest 15 wickets from just six innings to guide Sri Lanka to the final. He took six wickets while conceding just eight runs against Zimbabwe in the group-stage game to script history. This was the best spell in T20Is at the time till India’s Deepak Chahar’s 6/7 against Bangladesh in November 2019.