Reuters: Sri Lanka fast bowler Lasith Malinga was unaware he had become the first player to take three one-day international hat-tricks until after the match against Australia on Monday.
Malinga, nicknamed “Slinger Malinga” due to his distinctive round-arm action, ripped out Mitchell Johnson, John Hastings and Xavier Doherty in an explosive burst which set up Sri Lanka’s four-wicket victory in the fifth match of the series.
“I realised that I had become the first bowler to take three hat tricks in ODI cricket only after the match,” Malinga told reporters.
“I am extremely happy that I emulated the feat of two other fast bowlers whom I had seen and admired Wasim Akram and Chaminda Vaas.
“It is these kinds of performances that you are remembered after you have retired from the game. I was not expecting anything like this when I came on to bowl. My job is to take wickets and help the team to win,” he said.
Malinga, 27, retired from test cricket this year due to a knee injury which prevented him from bowling long spells.
“Some people thought that I took this decision for financial gains. But it was not so. I love the game so much that I want to play as long as I can. I know my knee won’t allow me a long career if I continued to play test cricket,” said Malinga.
“I have no ambitions to return to Test cricket in the future. My future is in the one-day game and Twenty20 cricket. That way I can serve my country better and longer,” he said.
Malinga’s two previous hat-tricks were performed in the World Cups in 2007 against South Africa when he took four wickets in four balls and in 2011 against Kenya at the same venue.
Australian captain Michael Clarke heaved a sigh of relief that his team will not come up against Malinga in the upcoming three-test series.
“He is an excellent bowler,” Clarke said. “He’s got an excellent yorker and an equally good slower ball. I am glad that he is not playing us in the test series,”
Sri Lanka captain Tillakaratne Dilshan said he was lucky to have Malinga in his team.
“Malinga is a great asset. Everyone can’t do Malinga’s job. He is an experienced wicket-taking bowler in our fast bowling attack. “Every time you give him the ball he will take wickets for you not only today but in the last few years. As a captain I am really lucky that Malinga is in my side.”