He is known to trouble batsmen with his bowling but on Friday Ajantha Mendis [ Images ] sparkled with bat in his hands and the spinner says it's not only him but whole Sri Lanka [ Images ] lower order is working on sharpening the batting skills.
Mendis scored a defiant 78 and along with senior batsman Thilan Samaraweera [ Images ] pulled Sri Lanka out of pits with a 118-run stand for the ninth wicket.
"Of late the Sri Lankan lower order batsmen have been concentrating on batting. They have gone to nets at Khettarama stadium, practiced a lot and as a result of that practice and hard work they are able to get runs when the team requires," Mendia told reporters after day's play.
"When I got into the national side I did not really concentrate much on batting. I was concentrating more on my bowling, but later I thought I must also improve on batting and in net practice also concentrated on my batting. As a result I was able to bat well today."
"When I went in to bat I was facing a difficult situation. And I was determined to support Samaraweera in his endeavour to get some runs on board. And I concentrated quite a lot. At that time the wicket did not do much and that also helped me," he said.
"At that time my thought was to get the total to around 150. But since I progressed well I thought of remaining in the wicket and getting as much as possible."
Asked if he thought of scoring a hundred when he got to 75, he said, "My only idea was to accumulate as much runs as possible. Even a single was valuable because that was going to pose problems for the side batting last on the wicket."
Mendis believes Sri Lanka have a good chance to win the series 2-0 but a lot would depend on how they bowl in the opening session.
"I observed that in the morning there is a tendency for the wickets to fall and if Sri Lanka is able to pick up a few wickets in the morning then by about mid-afternoon we should be able to wrap up the game," he said.