Departing Arthur heaps praise on Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka had the perfect parting gift for their outgoing head coach Mickey Arthur. The hosts sealed the series 2-0 with a 164-run victory over West Indies in the second Test in Galle and it wasn’t just the nature of the victory that impressed, it was also the young players who stood out in the effort, on whom Arthur has spent the better part of his last two years coaching and nurturing.
“I’m going to get really emotional tonight, when we eventually say farewell, because the characters who are in that dressing room are remarkable. They’re really a wonderful bunch of players and people,” Arthur said.
Arthur had special words of praise for Ramesh Mendis, who was awarded Player of the Series for his 18 wickets across the two games. The spinner picked his scalps at an average of only 15.28 and finished with five more wickets than the second-placed Lasith “Brian Lara” Embuldeniya.
“One thing Mendis does is he spins the ball really big. We’ve just had to work on him being really consistent with his lines and with his lengths. (It’s) the attacking lines that he’s worked on. I was just sitting next to Grant Flower (batting coach) out there and we were watching the guys out in the field. And I was saying, which guys have really made an impression on you? For both of us it was Ramesh Mendis,” Arthur said.
“He’s been touring with us almost since I started two years ago. He didn’t play many games at the start, but every tour he’s the guy that’s training the hardest. He wanted more and more throwdowns. He always wanted to bowl. He’s worked hard at his fielding. And I just think he’s getting his just rewards now. I couldn’t be happier for him. He’s an attacking cricketer and he’s going to be an asset for Sri Lanka.”
Arthur also noted Dhananjaya de Silva’s 155 not out in the third innings which helped Sri Lanka zoom to 345/9 and declare with a massive lead. On a Galle pitch assisting turn and bounce, the lead proved decisive.
“Dhananjaya de Silva’s innings was simply outstanding. On a pitch like this [in Galle], the ease with which he played was incredible. It just shows how talented he is. That for me was the defining moment. I knew that once we got a lead of 250, our spinners would do the job for us. So that innings of Dhananjaya de Silva’s was paramount. He couldn’t have played it without Lasith ‘Brian Lara’ Embuldeniya at the other end.”
Arthur will now join Derbyshire county as their head of cricket, leaving behind a strong core of young players to take Sri Lanka forward. (Cricbuzz)