Lasith Malinga, the bowling captain of Sri Lanka

Veteran fast bowler Lasith Malinga’s four-for helped the islanders beat England in Headingley on Friday.

Lasith Malinga quietly celebrates a dismissal in the World Cup match against England in Headingley on Friday.   -  AFP

 

M. S. Dhoni led India to World Cup glory in 2011. But the team had a bowling captain in Zaheer Khan. Sri Lanka, captained by Dimuth Karunaratne in this edition of the tournament, is replicating the idea with Lasith Malinga as its bowling skipper.

“Malinga is the captain of the bowling team,” young batsman Kusal Mendis revealed after the team’s 20-run win over England on Friday.

At Headingley, Sri Lanka successfully defended 232, riding on a four-wicket haul by the 35-year-old Malinga, who returned to the squad after a quick visit back home to attend his mother-in-law’s funeral.

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“He is a legend and has a lot of variations and is an experienced player, who has played a lot of T20 matches,” Mendis said. “He told the bowlers to use variations. He told us we could do it…”

Mendis revealed that Malinga is a terror even in the nets. “I don’t like facing him in the nets! He has slower balls, bouncers and yorkers…” the youngster laughed.

England’s Jos Buttler, too, had a word of praise for his team’s tormentor. “He is an incredibly skilful bowler,” Buttler said. “The stumps are always in play with his release point and it is generally going to be pretty close if he hits your pads. We didn’t counter him as well as we could.”