by Will Davies
Angelo Mathews and Mahela Jayawardene on Monday night combined to take one of the most astonishing catches ever seen on a cricket
field, as Sri Lanka
to seal a 2-0 victory in their Twenty20 series.
Jayawadene won`t mind giving most of the credit for the catch to his team-mate, Mathews, who displayed great athleticism and quick thinking that, in the blink of an eye, brought the home crowd in Pallekele Stadium to its feet and left the dismissed batsman, David Warner, standing stupefied in the middle.
The Australian left-hander had slogged an Ajantha Mendis delivery to the deep mid-wicket boundary. Mathews, running backwards at full tilt, managed to maneuver himself underneath the ball to take it at full stretch. He did well just to trap the ball in his hands, given how much ground he had to cover, but his momentum was taking him over the boundary rope.
Quick as a flash, while he was airborne over the rope, Mathews hurled the ball with his right hand back into play. As Mathews stopped himself from crashing into the advertising hoardings, Jayawardene came sweeping round the outfield to catch the ball that had been lobbed a good 30 yards by his team-mate.
This moment of brilliance not only helped turn the match in Sri Lanka`s favour, it also added to the wicket tally of bowler Mendis, who ended with six for just 16 runs, a world record in international Twenty20 cricket. No bowler has ever before taken six wickets in this short format of the game.
With Warner and fellow opener Shane Watson who blasted 57 from 24 balls at the crease, Australia was coasting to Sri Lanka`s total of 157. But the visitors couldn`t recover after Warner fell to that Jayawardene catch, and Australia eventually ended eight runs short of the Sri Lankan target.