ICL: Indian Cricket League

Best batsman in Sri Lanka since Sanath Jayasuriya


jayasuryaA fine technician with an excellent temperament, Mahela Jayawardene’s exciting arrival in 1997 heralded the start of a new era for Sri Lanka’s middle order. His career reached new heights in 2006 when he was named captain, led a 5-0 one-day whitewash over England and then scored a Sri Lankan record 374 against South Africa at the SSC in Colombo. He added 624 for the third wicket with Kumar Sangakkara — a first-class record.

Jayawardene is the best batsman the island had produced since Sanath Jayasuriya (the man whose record Jayawardene took with his 374) and his rich talent fuelled towering expectations. Perhaps mindful of his first Test, when he went out to bat against India at Colombo in 1997 with the scoreboard reading 790 for 4, he soon developed an appetite for big scores.

His 66 then was followed by a masterful 167 on a Galle minefield versus New Zealand in his fourth match. A marathon 242 against India followed in his seventh Test. However, after a prolific purple patch from 2000 to early-2002, his form became more patchy. His declining productivity in the one-day game was particularly alarming, although that was partly explained by his shuffling up and down the order.

He suffered a run drought during the 2003 World Cup and was dropped immediately after. However, he soon regained his confidence and benefited from a stable batting position at No. 4 after the retirement of Aravinda de Silva.

Jayawardene was given a chance to show what he brought to the captaincy when Marvan Atapattu was hit by back problems and he was named captain for the 2006 tour of England.

Source:The News

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