I am an offspinner, my wicket-taking balls are leg-spin and googly: Dananjaya

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I am an offspinner, my wicket-taking balls are leg-spin and googly: Dananjaya

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SportsCafe Desk

08/25/2017

Sri Lankan spinner Akila Dananjaya has revealed that despite being an offspinner, he outfoxed Indian batsmen with his leg-spin and googly in the second ODI yesterday. However, his efforts couldn't win the hosts the match and the off spinner is admitted to be quite saddened by the loss.

Sri Lanka had been thoroughly outplayed by India in the ongoing tour much before the second ODI yesterday as after a 3-0 whitewash in the Tests, they suffered a heavy defeat in the first ODI in Dambulla by nine wickets. But the script took a different turn as young Akila Dananjaya nearly disturbed the established order by taking six wickets to reduce India to 131/7.

Despite being an offie on record, the first signs that he was not just a regulation one came when he unleashed a googly in his second over to Rohit Sharma, who played away from his body, anticipating a leg-break, but the ball zipped in instead and rapped him on the pads. He kept his variations going all throughout the match that helped him dismiss six Indian batsmen out of a total of seven wickets. After the game, Dhananjay spoke about this rare trait. 

"I am an off-spinner. Wicket taking bowls are leg-spin and the googly. I bowl a lot of off spins. Work with Piyal Wijetunga (Sri Lankan spin coach) and if I need to bowl variations, Piyal tells me to do so as well," said Dananjaya when asked about what kind of bowler he was.

"I realized that the off-spin was not helping much. So I decided to get back to my variations. The target we had to defend wasn't too much either. So we had to take wickets. I bowled a lot of variations and it went really well," he added.

In spite of his brilliant performance, Sri Lanka were thrashed by the Indian team, and that was possible because of a 100-run eighth-wicket partnership between MS Dhoni and Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

Even after taking six wickets, the Sri Lankan skipper, Upul Tharanga, held Dananjaya back after eight overs. This move supported the partnership of Dhoni and Bhuvneshwar Kumar. 

"They were set and I thought better to get back later on if someone breaks the partnership. We wanted to win the game. Once wickets come along we also gained confidence. But Bhuvi and Dhoni were superb. They batted really well against our bowlers. Nothing much of a change on the wicket," said the 23-year-old.

Later when Dananjaya came back to the attack, it was too late and Indian team was on the right track to take a 2-0 lead in the series.

"We would have been happy had we won the game. I am very sad at the moment. I would have returned a happy man had we won," said Dananjaya in the post-match press conference on Thursday night. 

Dananjaya had tied the knot less than 24 hours before the game at his hometown in Moartuwa (150 kilometers away from Kandy) to Nethalie Tekshini. But he made himself available soon after for the match and back in the team hotel in Kandy that night ahead of the second ODI. 

"Wedding was in the afternoon. When I got back to the team hotel it was around 11:30 in the night. I wanted to reach earlier than that but it took a little longer. The wedding was at Moratuwa. Finished around 4 pm and we were a bit late when we came," he said.

India will play the next game on Sunday and they might figure him out going forward and deal with him in the same way they dealt with Ajantha Mendis after the initial struggles.

Lasith Malinga or Bhuvneshwar Kumar? Who will take more wickets?

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