The former schoolboy of St. Benedict’s College captured four wickets for 37 in the third and deciding ODI as Sri Lanka bowled out South Africa for 125 runs and completed a 2-1 series victory.
In fact, Theekshana was initially picked for the T20 series while targeting the T20 Wold Cup but the nature of the track prompted the national selectors to include him in the third ODI.
The final result was quite amazing as he mesmerised the South African batting with a clinical performance and also produced a glimpse of his capabilities and what would be in store for the T20 series.
The Proteas, of course, will have a completely different batting line-up for the shortest format of the game but certainly it will be a daunting task for them to negotiate the spin of Theekshana on a turning wicket.
In fact, the concluded ODI series has already provided an indication on how the surface at the Premadasa Stadium would behave where spin will play a major role throughout the series.
As many as 16 wickets fell for the spinners during the third ODI with Sri Lanka and South Africa sharing eight wickets each. There have been only one occasion where the spinners have claimed more
wickets in an ODI – 19 during the match between Bangladesh and Pakistan at Chattogram in 2011.
Theekshana’s sterling performance on debut in the third ODI have even surprised his teammates as he took the centre stage ahead of some of the more experienced players in the side.
“He has played a little bit at the higher levels – not internationals – but he has played league tournaments like the T10 and the Lanka Premier League,” Sri Lanka Captain Dasun Shanaka revealed.
Theekshana, though, is not just about the mystery and he had been reasonably effective in Sri Lanka’s recent T20 Tournament, taking four wickets at an economy rate of 6.42.
Although he has played only 11 List ‘A’ games, those stats are also impressive as he has captured a total of 19 wickets at an average of 16.15. But the biggest experience for Theekshana came when he represented the
Northern Warriors team in the Abu Dhabi T20 League Tournament early this year.
He was able to make a lasting impression in this major event despite playing against some of the best players in the world in this format of the game.
In fact, Theekshana had the satisfaction of winning the Man-of-the-Match award in the final encounter against Delhi Bulls by claiming three wickets for 14 runs from his two overs.
He had the distinction of sending back the West Indies opener Dwayne Bravo for a duck after having earlier snapped up the wickets of opener Ewin Lewis and Ravi Bopara.