Mendis is future of Sri Lankan cricket: Murali

Veteran Muttiah Muralitharan annointed Ajantha Mendis as his successor to carry the legacy of his spin wizadry.

updated: July 30, 2008 16:25 IST
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Sri Lankan debutant spinner Ajantha Mendis not only bamboozled the Indians with his bag of tricks in the first cricket Test, but the youngster's chest must have swollen with pride when veteran Muttiah Muralitharan annointed him as his successor to carry the legacy of his spin wizadry.

Mendis, who returned the best figures for a Sri Lankan on debut, claiming eight for 132 against India, lived up to the hype that he generated before the Test match.

It was complete domination by the Sri Lankan spinners as Muralitharan and Mendis took 19 of the 20 wickets to fall.

"When I started playing Test cricket, I was not as good as Mendis. He is exceptional. He is the future of Sri Lankan cricket," Muttiah said.

Sri Lankan skipper Mahela Jayawerdene also lavished praise on Mendis.

"It was a perfect game for us. We scored 600 and possibly we needed that many runs to put India under pressure. Muralitharan and Mendis bowled exceptionally well. The wicket was getting slower and lower and they got the most out of it."

Sri Lanka narrowly missed recording their biggest victory margin in Test cricket, but nevertheless it's their third best Test win and the best against a prominent Test playing nation.

Indian skipper Anil Kumble, who had said that pressure will be on Mendis before the first Test as he would be up againt top-class players of spin bowling in his debut match, admitted that Mendis was brilliant.

Kumble though said Murali played the most important part in plotting India's downfall.