There was a time when a white batsman facing Ajantha Mendis would involve, a lot of nervous nudges, edgy singles and then an embarrassing bowled slash LBW as the batsman tried to break the shackles.
There was a time before that when the subbie batsmen and Windies batsmen were the same.
At one stage only the true prophet Sehwag could play him.
It was if all of life’s mysteries were wrapped up in the elegant fingers of Mendis and while the rest of us tried to think about a way to play him, the Lord just smited him.
Now it is all unraveling for Mendis.
According to Iain O’Brien his carom ball and wrong one are fairly easy to pick from the hand.
But that is not the worst bit.
The worst was when Cameron White failed to pick his wrong one. What should have happened was a couple of nervy deliveries later White played an ugly slog and Mendis picked up another easy wicket.
Instead the Big Bear got cave man on Mendis. He took 34 off 16 balls, and it was only a brilliantly madcap field placing by King Kumar, putting Dilshan directly behind the bowler, that slowed White down.
It wasn’t that White even seemed to be picking Mendis, it was that he didn’t care what Mendis bowled, he was just trusting his eye and hitting the ball a long way.
It was brutal and easy. After that one wrong one White never truly looked in trouble, but a few people in the crowd and the camera man certainly did.
Watching the Australian top order struggle against Randiv, a fairly faceless innocuous type spinner, Mendis would have been quite excited. He probably thought he could cash in with a few wickets and start to restore his career a little.
Instead he was beaten up. And by Australia, who seem to make the most simple spinner look good. That must have embarrassed Mendis especially after the way Australia’s two best players of spin, Clarke and FFPM David Hussey, went out.
Since originally saying Mendis would be worked out, I have said that he either bowls like Chris Harris to batsmen who know him, or Jim Laker to those that don’t.
With the way Australia play regular spin of late; you’d say that they were going to be the last to work him out of those who have faced him. England still haven’t played against Mendis, but he might not be around long enough to ever play them if he keeps having days like he did against White.
Although even without mystery he might still confuse England.
With no real spin or flight, Mendis is less mystery and more a fading curiosity. Like Winona Ryder.