Sri Lanka bank on spinners for success

NOTTINGHAM, June 17, 2009 (AFP) – Sri Lanka expect the spinners to pick up another rich haul when they take on the West Indies in the World Twenty20 semi-final at the Oval on Friday. The Sri Lankans have bulldozed their way through the tournament with five straight wins, mainly on the back of spin twins Ajantha Mendis and Muttiah Muralitharan who lead a balanced bowling attack.

Mendis, who puzzles batsmen by turning the ball both ways with one visible action, has so far picked up 11 wickets in the tournament, just one behind Pakistani seamer Umar Gul’s tally of 12.

Muralitharan has five wickets, while fast bowler Lasith Malinga has picked up 10 with a mix of toe-crushing yorkers and slower deliveries.

Former captain Mahela Jayawardene, who handed the reigns to Kumar Sangakkara before the tournament, said he was confident the bowlers will deliver at the crunch time.

“Look, Murali can turn the ball on any surface,” Jayawardene said of the star off-spinner, who is the world’s highest wicket-taker in both Tests and one-day cricket.

“And if Ajantha sticks to his plans, we have a fairly good chance of going all the way.”

Mendis grabbed 3-9 in three overs as S