Dubai: Bowlers hunt in pairs. That’s said chiefly of fast bowlers. But there have been spinners who have found success, operating in tandem. Sri Lanka have found spin twins in Wanindu Hasaranga and Maheesh Theekshana. The two are different in style and approach, but it works for them. Their haul of wickets is adequate proof.
Spin partnerships are not new in Sri Lanka. Legendary off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan and Sanath Jayasuriya have been successful for many years. Then came Ajantha Mendis, who bowled alongside Murali.
Theekshana and Hasaranga are in Mendis mould. They have a bagful of tricks to surprise batters and prevent the big shots.
“We have a young team and Maheesh is also one of them. I always try to bowl dot balls and keep it to stump to stump line, that’s why I am successful. Maheesh also does the same. The wickets here are not so helpful to the bowlers, so if we can bowl in good areas, I think we can do well,” Hasaranga, the player of the match, said at a press conference.
Hasaranga has been the go-to bowler for skipper Dasun Shanaka, and the leg-spinner never disappoints. By bowling several dot balls to Pakistan skipper Babar Azam, Hasaranga piled pressure on the world No 2, who was forced to play a risky shot only to see the stumps rearranged.
He struck twice more with his stump-to-stump line, and this trait has given Hasaranga an economy rate of 6.76.
Theekshana’s role is impressive since the off-break bowler starts in the powerplay, where the margin of error is very thin. Yet, he has an economy rate of 6.59. The 22-year-old, who bowls off-spin, leg-spin and carrom ball, has been Sri Lanka’s top wicket-taker in the 2021 Lanka Premier League.
The two spinners gave away 21 runs each in their quota of four overs, keeping Pakistan batters in check besides snaring five wickets between them. Hasaranga and Theekshana remain Sri Lanka’s main weapons on the bouncy Australian wickets during the Twenty20 World Cup, beginning next month.