Sri Lanka’s young batting Prodigy Kusal Mendis cemented a stellar year by passing 1,000 runs in 2018 but the occasion was tempered by his untimely dismissal in the second Test against New Zealand on Saturday.
The 23-year-old was torn between celebrating being the second player behind India’s run machine Virat Kohli to achieve the 1,000 milestone and ruing Sri Lanka’s precarious position with a day remaining in the series deciding Test.
Of reaching 1,000 runs, Mendis said he was “really glad I was able to do it at 23, and I had challenged myself to get there in this last game.”
When he was out for 67, caught at extra cover off Neil Wagner, Mendis had 1,023 runs from 23 innings at 46.50. Kohli has amassed 1,322 from 24 innings at 55.08.
“I’m really happy. I did have that target in mind,” he said.
“In the first few matches of the year I didn’t have that in my head, but later on, after I’d played a few games this year, and scored a few runs, then I became pretty intent on getting to 1,000 runs.”
However, his dismissal when Sri Lanka needed a long partnership took the gloss off the day.
“That’s a bit disappointing,” he said.
“The plan was to bat as many balls as possible, as had been the case in Wellington. I tried to make the ball older and softer. If runs came, then that’s a bonus. So we took it hour by hour and tried to break the work up that way.