Although classified as a right-arm, slow-medium bowler, Ajantha Mendis is a spinner who bowls a mixture of googlies, offbreaks, top-spinners, flippers and legbreaks.
Batsmen have been confounded by the variety of deliveries he has up his sleeve and are at a loss to figure out what his stock delivery is. Mendis was a prolific wicket-taker for Sri Lanka Army in the 2007-08 season and had taken 46 wickets at an average of 10.56 and strike-rate of 31 from six matches.
His performances did not go unnoticed for Mendis was called up to the Sri Lanka squad for the tour of West Indies in April 2008. After impressing on debut in the Caribbean, Mendis only grew in stature - in particular, because of his 'carrom ball', which he releases with an unusual snap of his fingers.
In a short span Mendis has flummoxed some international batsmen who've played spin pretty well in their careers. Just ask the Indians, who were clueless against him in the Asia Cup final, where Mendis netted 6 for 13 in his eighth one-day international. His 17 wickets in the tournament duly earned him the Man-of-the-Series award and soon after earned a call-up to the Test squad to face India at home.
What a series it was: the best returns for a bowler in a three match-debut series, beating Alec Bedser's record by two. Mendis started by becoming the first Sri Lankan to take eight wickets on Test debut, and finished with 26 wickets, bamboozling India with unpredictability, killer efficiency and numbing accuracy, to be named Man of the Series.