Lasith Malinga, who announced his retirement from all forms of cricket on Tuesday, used to leave rivals stunned and in tangles with his unorthodox bowling action, a trend that continued well into his career.
In only his fifth Test match, Malinga made a strong impression, leaving Kiwi batsmen in all sorts of trouble in the first New Zealand-Sri Lanka game at Napier in 2005. Malinga’s slinging low-arm action and yorkers meant that the hosts were unable to pick the Sri Lankan well, which even prompted New Zealand skipper Stephen Fleming to request the umpires to switch to white trousers as they were losing his action against their black pants.
He was especially lethal in the second innings at Napier, where he ended with a five-for, with four of his dismissals coming off either an LBW or clean bowled. He picked up Craig Cumming and Hamish Marshall in the space of 4.4 overs, and though replays suggest that both would have gone down leg, and appeared to have been wrongly given out by umpire Steve Bucknor, it does not hide how he managed to bamboozle players on what looked like a flat track.
The youngster ended with a match-haul of nine wickets as the game ended in a draw. As it turned out, he went on to become a white-ball titan, even though injuries hampered his red-ball progress significantly, and he only played 30 Tests, the last of which was in 2010.
Watch Malinga’s spell against New Zealand here:
So many highlights, but nothing beats when he came on the scene and nobody had a clue how to play him (a theme that continued tbf) pic.twitter.com/wGVBUCqdKQ
— Vithushan Ehantharajah (@Vitu_E) September 14, 2021