Hambantota: Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene praised Ajantha Mendis after the spin magician's record-breaking effort helped beat Zimbabwe in the World Twenty20 opener.
Mendis, 27, capped his return to international cricket after an eight month injury lay-off with astonishing figures of six wickets for eight runs .
Jayawardene said Mendis was hungry to return after a back injury.
"I am happy with the way Ajantha bowled," said Jayawardene after the match. "Even in the domestic tournament he came back and bowled really well. That was the indicator to see how match fit he was and how much control he had."
Jayawardene said Mendis's return was a boost to Sri Lanka.
"Ajantha was very keen to get back into the side and we saw that hunger in him. We wanted to make sure that he went through the processes and get his back sorted out, which is why we kept him away for this long.
"He's comeback strongly and hopefully he'll continue to do the job. I am sure he'll have bad days but the quality of the player is that he'll have more good days than bad," said Jayawardene.
Jayawardene revealed Mendis was nervous before the match.
"This was his first game in eight months and he was a bit nervous before the game but he bowled really well." (agencies)