Mystery spinner Ajantha Mendis returned to form with a three wicket burst as Wayamba Province scored an upset five wicket victory over the table leaders Ruhuna Province in their SLT Inter Provincial Twenty20 cricket tournament match worked off at the SSC grounds in Maitland Place yesterday.
Mendis returned outstanding bowling figures of three wickets for 14 from 3.4 overs as Ruhuna Province were skittled out for 127 in the penultimate over of the innings. However they were cruising along towards a big total at one stage after skipper Sanath Jayasuriya had provided a flying start to the innings.
The dashing left hand opening batsman plundered 45 runs from just 23 deliveries inclusive of two sixes and half a dozen of boundaries to set the pace for a match winning total. But with the introduction of spinner Ajantha Mendis the game took a dramatic turn with Ruhuna Province losing wickets at regular intervals.
Middle order batsman Indika de Saram who hit a career best 94 in the previous outing against Basnahira North made a desperate attempt to pull his side from total disaster but the rest of the batting simply collapsed against the spin duo of Ajantha Mendis and Kaushal Lokuarachchi.
Wayamba Province then reached their target from only 17.1 overs with opener Mahela Udawatte leading the way. The dynamic batsman smashed 51 runs from 36 deliveries with the aid of one six and seven boundaries.
Former Sri Lanka skipper Mahela Jayawardena also returned to form and added the finishing touches with a 28 ball 37 while stroking four boundaries. He also put on 65 runs for the third wicket with Udawatte.
Ruhuna: 127 in 18.4 overs (S. Jayasuriya 45, I. de Saram 22, A. Mendis 3 for 14, K. Lokuarachchi 2 for 16).
Wayamba: 130 for 5 in 17.1 overs (M. Udawatte 51, M. Jayawardena 37).