Jan 12, 2009

Sport - Cricket;Mendis fastest to reach 50 ODI wickets

Ajantha Mendis became the fastest bowler to complete 50 wickets in one-day internationals as Sri Lanka crushed Zimbabwe by 130 runs in a triangular series match in Dhaka on Monday.

The unorthodox spinner finished with 3-15 off 5.2 disciplined overs as Sri Lanka dismissed Zimbabwe for a paltry 80 after scoring 210-6.

Mendis, playing his 19th one-day international, broke Indian fast bowler Ajit Agarkar's record of 50 wickets in 23 matches.

Extras were the highest contributor in a dismal Zimbabwean batting performance with 16. Stuart Matsikenyeri (15) was the lone batsman to reach double-figures.

It was Zimbabwe's fourth-lowest total against Sri Lanka in 43 one-day internationals.

Fast bowler Nuwan Kulasekara set up the victory when he grabbed three wickets in his lively opening spell to send Zimbabwe reeling at 27-3 before Mendis and off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan (2-4) completed the job.

Mendis, who was two wickets short of the record before this game, removed Matsikenyeri and Raymond Price before finishing the match with the dismissal of last-man Tawanda Mupariwa.

Man-of-the-match Angelo Mathews earlier cracked an unbeaten 52 for his maiden half-century to help Sri Lanka post a competitive total.

Sri Lanka were struggling at 97-5 following paceman Edward Rainsford's three-wicket burst, but the young middle-order batsman came to his team's rescue in only his third one-day international.

Mathews, 21, added 69 for the sixth wicket with Jehan Mubarak (31) and 44 for the unfinished seventh wicket with Thilan Thushara (28 not out) to steady the innings.

Sri Lanka made a brisk start after being put in to bat as veteran Sanath Jayasuriya (22) and Upul Tharanga (42) added 51 in just 8.4 overs, but were pegged back by Rainsford's triple-strike.

Rainsford trapped both Kumar Sangakkara (four) and Chamara Kapugedera (four) leg-before and also had skipper Mahela Jayawardene caught by diving wicket-keeper Tatenda Taibu for no score.

It was the Sri Lankan captain's third successive duck against Zimbabwe, including two in Harare in November 2008.

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