Sri Lanka’s Mendis says he owes it to Murali

July 27, 2008 (AFP) – Sri Lankan spinner Ajantha Mendis said that team-mate Muttiah Muralitharan played a key role in his success against India in his debut Test here. Mendis took eight wickets in the match as Sri Lanka thrashed India by an innings and 239 runs to gain a 1-0 lead in the three-Test series.

The second match starts in Galle on Thursday.

“It was obviously a fantastic moment for me,” said Mendis, an unorthodox spinner with plenty of variation.

“To bowl with Murali helped me a lot, especially to get advice from him. The pressure he created gave me opportunities to pick up wickets. I am very happy with my start to international cricket.

“I didn’t feel nervous as I had senior players helping me around, especially Murali bowling from the other end. It was just another game for me. The important thing was that we bowled in right areas and created pressure.”

Off-spinner Muralitharan, the world’s leading wicket-taker with 746, was named man of the match for his 11-wicket haul.

“He (Mendis) is a talented bowler. When I started, I just had off-spin and big turn. He has more variations and that’s difficult for the batsmen,” said Murali