It was a very late-aughts move. In the age of Ajantha Mendis and Muthiah Muralidaran, Sri Lanka were flagbearers for mystery spin, batters the world over frequently failing to read Murali’s doosra, or Mendis’ carrom balls and googlies.
In the series decider against South Africa, on Tuesday, Sri Lanka brought in a spinner of similar gifts. Maheesh Theekshana, 21-years-old, showcased his variety on a big-turning surface, troubling batters not only with his offbreaks, but also the carrom ball in particular. Most South Africa batters failed to discern which way the ball would turn, and Theekshana picked up match figures of 4 for 37 from his 10 overs – the best-ever returns for a Sri Lanka debutant.