Mendis bowls a mixture of deliveries, including googlies, off-breaks, doosras, off-cutters, leg-breaks, and the Carrom Ball. This new type of delivery is accomplished by a subtle flick of the middle finger, much like how the rude 'middle finger' gesture is performed. The Carrom Ball has been criticised in the past by prominent cricketers like Michael Holding, Ravi Shastri and the Fernando brothers Ranjit and Dilhara. However, the flick of the middle finger was cleared in 2004 by the ICC, and ever since Mendis has constantly been one of the best Sri Lankan spinners in the world; along with the equally lethal Muttiah Muralitharan, the two form a formidable opening duo for the Sri Lankan spin attack. Indeed, between them the pair have claimed nearly 750 test wickets.
Mendis' best Test match bowling figures are 8-132 against India, surpassing even Jason Krezja's 8-wicket haul against South Africa. His best bowling one-day international figures came in the final of the 2008 Asia Cup; he took 6 wickets in a single over for just 13 runs. His tally of 17 wickets in the tournament earned him both the BCCSL's (Board for Control of Cricket in Sri Lanka) Player of the Month Award as well as the Player of the Tournament Award. Mendis' unique, unorthodox bowling style continues to deceive and baffle batsmen and bowlers alike the world over.
He recently decided last year to bring his experience and element of surprise to the Indian Premier League (IPL); he signed a 7-year contract with the Kolkata Knight Riders, one of eight teams involved in the tournament, which saw him take the wickets of world-class batsmen such as Sachin Tendulkar, Thilan Thushara and Brendon McCullum. He is hoping this year to surpass the achievements of his Sri Lankan counterpart Muttiah Muralitharan (Chennai Super Kings), who ironically claimed the wicket of Mendis three times during the inaugural tournament.