HAMBANTOTA: Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene praised Ajantha Mendis after the spin magician’s record-breaking effort helped beat Zimbabwe in the World Twenty20 opener on Tuesday.
Mendis, 27, capped his return to international cricket after an eight month injury lay-off with astonishing figures of six wickets for eight runs to shoot Zimbabwe out for 100 in the Group C clash, giving Sri Lanka a convincing 82-run win.
Jayawardene said Mendis was hungry to return after a back injury.
“I am happy with the way Ajantha bowled,” said Jayawardene after the match. “Even in the domestic tournament he came back and bowled really well. That was the indicator to see how match fit he was and how much control he had.”
Kumar Sangakkara (44) and Jeevan Mendis (43 not out) propelled the Sri Lankan innings to 182-4 after they were put into bat by Brendan Taylor.
Jayawardene said Mendis’s return was a boost to Sri Lanka. “Ajantha was very keen to get back into the side and we saw that hunger in him. We wanted to make sure that he went through the processes and get his back sorted out, which is why we kept him away for this long.”