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Key point of the series was Kusal Mendis’ 176: Angelo Mathews

Sri Lanka Angelo Mathews
Sri Lanka’s captain Angelo Mathews (C) and teammates leave the grounds with the stumps after the victory. (Photo by LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI/AFP/Getty Images)

Sri Lanka had a historic win in the Test series against the world champions Australia. They whitewashed the Test series 3-0, as Australia fell against the spin attack. Speaking about the historic win, the Sri Lankan skipper Angelo Mathews said that the century from Kusal Mendis at Pallakele was the key to success in the series.

It was the first Test match of the series and Sri Lanka decided to bat after winning the toss. But surprisingly, the home side was bowled out for 117 in the first innings with all the Australian bowlers chipping in with wickets. The visitors also acquired an 86-run lead in the first innings.With Australia having the upper hand, Sri Lanka needed a big total in the second innings to put a decent target for the visitors to chase in the fourth innings of the match.

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With Australia having the upper hand, Sri Lanka needed a big total in the second innings to put a decent target for the visitors to chase in the fourth innings of the match. Youngster Kusal Mendis stood up to the task as he scored a match-winning 176 to bring Sri Lanka back into the contest. “The key point I thought was Mendis’s innings – that was the turnaround for the whole series after getting all out for 117 at Pallekele,” Mathews said on Wednesday.

“It was a special effort by him to get us onto a winning track. From there onwards it really kicked off. The confidence levels were sky high from there. We worked very hard and actually we worked harder than the first two Tests ahead of the third Test as we were desperate to finish this 3-0,” he added.

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Future is bright:

Mathews also praised Dhananjaya de Silva, who ended as the leading run-getter in the series. “It’s just pure talent, with the young batsmen,” he gushed. “I suppose Dhananjaya has played a bit of first-class cricket, but Kusal Mendis hasn’t. We’ve got to take that chance with some people sometimes, and it’s paid off. You can see the way they batted in extreme conditions – it was turning square.”

Mathews also added that with the likes of de Silva, Kusal Mendis, and Kusal Perera among other youngsters, the future of Sri Lankan cricket is bright. “They had Nathan Lyon, Jon Holland, and Steve O’Keefe in the first game. Mitchell Starc has been outstanding in the last three or four weeks as well. The calmness and composure of Dhananjaya at No. 7 was great. He handled that pressure well. Kusal Perera also played some brisk knocks, so the future is bright.”

One leg was enough for Rangana Herath:

Rangana Herath, who finished the series with 28 wickets was awarded as the player of the series. He got injured while batting in the third Test match but went on to bowl his side to victory claiming 13 wickets in the match. “He was bowling off one leg, but one leg was enough for him,” he said.

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“He got hit while batting and then he had a groin strain. He couldn’t run and he couldn’t jump. He was just landing the ball on one leg, and he is unbelievable. He has taken 28 wickets in the series and is one of the best I have seen. The batsmen are having a nightmare facing him no matter how well they play spin. He has been a great team man as well,” he concluded.

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