Ceylon Daily News: Walking out of the National Stadium after the drawn game between Sri Lanka and a Guyana Cricket Board President’s Eleven team I was confronted by a group of Guyanese cricket enthusiasts who noticed me sporting a Sri Lanka Cricket tee shirt.
‘You playing for Sri Lanka’, asked one of them in the group. ‘My playing days were long over’, I said, laughing to myself.
‘Hey mann, where is that mann Malinga? asked another in the group. I said is it Malinga Bandara? ‘No, no mann. That guy with the weired hair do and the peculiar slinging action. Oh, is it Lasith Malinga? That de guy’, they all shouted.
‘He didn’t play in this game. Is he being rested for the Test match’, they queried.
I said: ‘No my friends, he has been emitted due to injury and is not in the squad’, I said much to their disappointment.
‘Mann, when Malinga was here he took 4 in 4, you remember’, they asked. I said I was at the scene of action that day and lapped up every moment of that 4 in 4 blast, in the World Cup game at this venue, against South Africa, and described it to my newspaper.
‘We were all waiting to see that mann in action. He has a big following here. We are all very disappointed mann’, they lamented.
While talking to the group, who were the very friendly type, some of them in the group were imitating Lasith Malinga’s bowling action and weren’t they enjoying it.
‘You know mann, we have some bowlers playing here, who are imitating Maligna’s action, hoping that we too can take 4 in 4. We are very upset that he is not here!.
‘When you get back, tell Malinga that we missed him and would be waiting to see him play here when Sri Lanka tours. Give him our regards and tell him we missed him’, they shouted in unison before wishing me and the Sri Lanka team good luck.
With Sri Lanka playing the first Digicel Test on the same venue The National stadium, where Lasith Malinga produced his heroics, it is worth recalling those magical moments to Sri Lankans.
It would not have been very many Sri Lankans who would have been awake watching that spell from Malinga, other than for the diehard supporters, because Malinga’s effort was in the wee hours of the morning in Sri Lanka.
This is how it went. With the South Africans cruising to victory, skipper Mahela Jayawardena tossed the ball to Malinga and probably said: ‘Make the ball talk’. And Malinga did not disappoint his skipper. he made the ball more than talk, as he performed a cricketing bowling miracle to send four South African batsmen hurring back to the pavilion and promising Sri Lanka a victory from the jaws of defeat.
Wicket number one was when he shattered Shaun Pollock’s stumps with a well disguised slow yorker. Wicket number two was Andrew Hall top edging a catch to Upul Tharanga, Wicket number three was Jacques Kallis who going for a big drive, snicked to Sangakkara who took a brilliant diving catch. Players gathered from everywhere to hug and congratulate Malinga on his hat-trick.
Malinga them kissed the ball and with the crowd urging him on, ran in and delivered a toe crushing yorker to Makaya Nitini who could do nothing but hear the rattle of his timber. Malinga would have had 5 in 5. But his next delivery to Robin Peterson missed the wicket by a coat of varnish. How that ball missed hitting the wicket only the ball and the wicket could tell.
With two runs for victory, Chaminda Vaas the ever reliable came on and bowled an excellent maiden over.
With many hearts skipping a beat and with spectators standing up and wildly cheering the bowler, Malinga let fly another of his famed yorkers. It looked another wicket taking delivery. But luck was with last man Pieterson as he jabbed down at the last moment for the ball to hit the bottom edge and fly to the third man boundary, to signal a victory for the Proteas and a travesty of justice defeat for the gutty Lankans.
Malinga’s 4 in 4 was the first in World Cup cricket and it will stay that way for a long, long time to come. Georgetown, Guyana, Thursday