August 29, 2019 / 4:42 AM / 19 days ago

Sri Lankan 'mystery spinner' Mendis retires

FILE PHOTO: Sri Lanka's Ajantha Mendis celebrates taking the wicket of South Africa's Jacques Kallis (not pictured) during their first One Day International cricket match in Colombo July 6, 2014. REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte (SRI LANKA - Tags: SPORT CRICKET)

(Reuters) - Sri Lanka’s Ajantha Mendis, who burst on to the scene as world cricket’s mystery spinner a decade ago, has announced his retirement from all formats of the game at the age of 34, the International Cricket Council said on Wednesday.

Mendis made his debut against West Indies in a one-dayer in April 2008 but it was his remarkable haul of six for 13 against India in the Asia Cup final three months later that turned heads around the world.

His trademark “carrom balls” - a disguised legbreak produced by flicking the ball between the thumb and the middle finger - left batsmen befuddled in the age of video analysis.

Mendis claimed 26 wickets in his maiden test series against India, a record for a three-match debut rubber, and also went on to become the fastest player to 50 ODI wickets, taking just 19 games.

Mendis took seven wickets in six matches at the 2011 50-overs World Cup but soon lost his spot in the Sri Lanka team as batsmen began to read his variations.

He last featured played international cricket in 2015 in a one-dayer against New Zealand in Christchurch.

He finished with 70 wickets in 19 tests, 152 in 87 ODIs and 66 in 39 Twenty20 internationals.

Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru, editing by Nick Mulvenney

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