Little man, big name, lots of spin
THE mystery was not only how to pronounce his surname.
Just who is Mahamarakkala Kurukulasooriya Patabendige Akila Dananjaya Perera, the little Sri Lankan spinner who made his international debut in the Twenty20 World Cup Super Eights showdown against New Zealand in Pallekele on Thursday night?
Well, it seems Akila Dananjaya, as he is known, was catapulted into the squad after impressing Sri Lanka's captain Mahela Jayawardene while bowling to national squad members in the nets ... three months ago.
He impressed Jayawardene so much that he was fast-tracked to play in the Sri Lankan Premier League and then thrust onto the international stage.
The tiny 18-year-old, who's barely five-foot tall (152.4cm), did not take long to make his presence felt - he took the wicket of Kiwi opener Martin Guptill with only his third ball.
Dananjaya did not enjoy it all his own way though and he was given a painful welcome to the big time by batsman Rob Nicol.
Nicol smashed a straight drive with such power back at Dananjaya while he was bowling to him that the ball burst through his hands, hitting him flush on the left cheek.
Dananjaya, who bowls four varieties of spin, bravely completed his over before leaving the field for treatment. He returned to finish his spell with figures of 2-32 off four overs and he gained some sort of revenge by having Nicol caught.
Sri Lanka went on to win by five runs in a Super Over after the game had finished in a tie.
New Zealand made 7-174 before Sri Lanka replied with 6-174.
In the second game at the venue, England's hopes of retaining their title hang by a thread after losing to the West Indies by 15 runs.
The Windies scored 5-179 thanks mainly to Johnson Charles who smashed 84 off 56 balls - his best score in professional cricket.
England, who needs to beat the Kiwis today to have any hope of staying alive in the tournament, scored 4-164 in reply.