PSS, Colombo, Sri Lanka: On the 4th day of 3rd Test between India and Sri Lanka, after taking a lead of 11 runs in the first innings, India had put Sri Lanka on the mat, almost, with SL score reading 125/8. As Mendis joined Samaraweera for 9th wicket, defeat was looming all over SL, and India was just waiting to complete the formality. But, when Mendis left as last wicket, he literally laughed and with him entire Sri Lanka must have smiled sniffing series victory.
Earlier in the day, Indian spinners threatend to wrap SL 2nd inning below 100, with 7 wickets taken for just 87 runs. Malinga survived a while to take the score to 125. India needed just two more wickets to start the march towards a likable easy win and equaliser in the series.
Samaraweera was a challenge, but with two tailenders to follow, India had an easy task of wrapping the SL 2nd innings on a pitch, which appeared turning in favor of bowlers. Mendis, the No. 10 batsman of Sri Lanka, joined first inning centurion Samaraweera, in the middle of the field.
As expected, India considered an easy prey. Samaraweera was gifted easy singles to get the easy prey, Mendis on strike. The writing was on the wall for the teams. It was just a matter of time that which bowler will add to his tally.
Mendis, with his highest score in test below 30 runs, initially survived. Samaraweera, looking good to score another century in the match, helped him settle by scoring easily and giving the pep-talk when needed. The partnership flourished. Indian faces turned bleak with every runs added. Dhoni was trying all type of fields and bowling angles possible. But, Mendis was not giving any chance.
He crawled to surpass his previous highest score of 27. With settled look, he increased the pace of his inning, reached his first 50 and then just attacked the Indian bowlers like a professional batsman. While still everyone waited for him to fail the partnership, Samaraweera could not control his lust for big shot and got out breaking a partnership of record 118 runs for the 9th wicket, which is SL’s highest-ever partnership for 9th wicket.
Mendis on the other hand continued attacking and added 24 more valuable runs for the last wicket. The good inning has to end, although with his form, if he had some good partnes, he might have went on to score a century. He departed as the last SL inning, scoring 78 runs.
His 78 runs were the highest score by a number 10 batsman against India in Test. His score also helped SL set a respectable target of 257 runs for India to win. Mendis will again come in picture, now with ball. His 78 runs were scored 157 balls with 10 fours and a six of Ojha.
Before this inning, Mendis has just scored 64 runs in 11 innings, remaining not out in 4 innings. 27 was his highest. In one inning, he managed to score more than his aggregate of 11 innings.
After being out, looking skywards he laughed. The laugh could be the best moment of the match. Probably, unable to belief that he had achieved the feat. Probably, smiling over the trying fate of India to be followed. Whatever it was, the result was clear. When Mendis laughed, Sri Lankans smiled with relief and content too sniffing victory whereas the opponent, Indians cried, considering the tough task ahead to get an equaliser in the series.