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A statistical review of Mahela Jayawardene’s Test career

Mahela Jayawardene retired from Test cricket after a 17-year long career © Getty Images
Mahela Jayawardene retired from Test cricket after a 17-year long career © Getty Images

Mahela Jayawardene, one of Sri Lanka’s most stylish batsmen ever, retired from Test cricket after about 17 years. His ability to playing long innings and get involved in long partnerships over the years has always been a statistician’s delight. As he retires, Bharath Seervi presents a statistical report on Jayawardene’s Test career.

Denagamage Proboth Mahela de Silva Jayawardene — the pillar of Sri Lanka’s batting order in the 21st century — bid adieu to his Test career at the age of 37 years and 83 days. He has been a great ambassador in the cricketing world for close to two decades.

Jayawardene made his test debut on August 2, 1997, against India at Colombo (RPS). He scored 66 runs in the only inning of a match that involved quite a few world records; those of highest team total, highest partnership, and more. He scored three fifties in his first five innings, and a brilliant 167 in his fourth Test match, against New Zealand at Galle in 1998. He then scored 242 against India the following year.

Jayawardene ended his Test career with 149 caps, having scored 11,814 runs at an average of 49.84 with 34 centuries, 50 half-centuries, and a career-best score of 374. Talking of his ability to play long innings, he scored seven double-centuries (including the above-mentioned triple century). Out of his 34 tons, 16 were scores over 150. He remained unbeaten in the “nervous nineties” six times, and once in the 190s.

Jayawardene’s career split in four periods:

From his debut in 1997 to the end of 2000, Jayawardene played 40 innings, aggregating a decent 1673 runs at average of 44.02 with four hundreds and eight fifties. He made three scores in excess of 150 (scores of 167, 167, and 242). In the next period of five years — from 2001 to 2005 — he played 49 Tests and scored 3633 runs at an average of 49.76 with 9 centuries and 19 half-centuries, with best of 237.

The next five-year block was his golden time; it yielded him 4221 runs in just 70 innings and 42 matches at a huge average of 63.95. He scored 15 centuries — eight of which were over 150, and four of which were over 200 — and 11 half-centuries. His record-breaking innings of 374 against South Africa also came in that period. He averaged at least 50 in each of those years.

However, he did not have a very productive time in the last four years of his career, as he averaged just 38.11 with only six hundreds. In the year 2014, he scored a 1003 runs in 18 innings at average of 59.00 with three centuries.

Period

Matches

Innings

Runs

Average

100s

50s

150+

200+

Ducks

Best

1997-2000

25

40

1673

44.02

4

8

3

1

1

242

2001-2005

49

80

3633

49.76

9

19

2

1

4

237

2006-2010

42

70

4221

63.95

15

11

8

4

6

374

2010-2014

33

62

2287

38.11

6

12

3

1

4

203*

Overall

149

252

11814

49.84

34

50

16

7

15

374

Highest average by batsmen in Tests from 2006 to 2010 (Min. of 2000 runs)

Jayawardene’s average of 63.95 was the second highest average by any batsman in Test cricket between 2006 and 2010 with a minimum of 2000 runs.

Average Batsman Innings Runs 100s 50s Best
71.32 Kumar Sangakkara 69 4422 16 16 287
63.95 Mahela Jayawardene 70 4221 15 11 374
61.90 Thilan Samaraweera 50 2538 7 15 231
60.80 Younis Khan 47 2554 8 10 313
59.51 Mohammad Yousuf 53 2916 10 10 202

 Year by Year statistics

Let us consider Jayawardene’s aggregates year by year. He aggregated over 1000 runs in a year three times in his career  — 1194 runs in 2009, 1053 in 2001, and 1003 in 2014. The year in which he averaged the highest was in 2007, a whopping 98.20. From 2006 to 2010 he averaged over 50 in every year. He scored five centuries in the year 2007, four in 2001 and three each in 2006, 2008, 2009, and 2014. The year 2006 was somewhat different. In that year he scored 983 runs, averaging 51.73 which included his career-best 374, but also four ducks. The only other year in which he bagged more than one duck was in 2012, when he made two ducks.

An interesting thing to note is that he has scored at least one century a year for 15 years in a row from 1998 to 2012. Only two other players have such a long sequence: Jacques Kallis for 17 years (1997 to 2013) and Rahul Dravid, also 15 years (1997 to 2011).

The table below lists Jayawardene’s numbers year by year.

Year Matches Innings Runs Average 100s 50s Ducks Highest
1997 2 3 89 29.66 0 1 0 66
1998 4 6 309 51.50 1 2 0 167
1999 9 13 535 44.58 1 2 1 242
2000 10 18 740 43.52 2 3 0 167
2001 13 19 1053 55.42 4 4 1 150
2002 9 16 625 48.07 1 4 1 107
2003 7 11 526 58.44 1 3 0 134
2004 11 20 861 45.31 2 3 1 237
2005 9 14 568 43.69 1 5 1 141
2006 11 20 983 51.73 3 2 4 374
2007 8 11 982 98.20 5 1 1 213*
2008 6 11 655 65.50 3 2 0 166
2009 11 20 1194 62.84 3 3 1 275
2010 6 8 407 50.87 1 3 0 174
2011 11 21 517 24.61 1 2 0 105
2012 10 19 630 35.00 2 3 2 180
2013 2 4 137 34.25 0 2 1 72
2014 10 18 1003 59.00 3 5 1 203*

Split up in 25 matches:

Jayawardene averaged at least 40 in each of the 25 Test match intervals in his career. He also scored at least four hundreds in each of those intervals, including a double century — except in the matches between 26 and 50. His best period in this was between match numbers 76 and 100. In the 42 innings in those matches, he averaged 65, yielding 2600 runs with 11 tons. Some of his scores in that period were 374, 213 notout, 195, 166 and 165.

Matches Innings Runs Average 100s 50s Ducks Highest
1 to 25 40 1673 44.02 4 8 1 242
26 to 50 39 1828 52.22 5 9 2 150
51 to 75 43 1858 47.64 4 10 2 237
76 to 100 42 2600 65.00 11 5 5 374
101 to 125 43 1995 47.50 5 8 1 275
126 to 149 45 1860 43.25 5 10 4 203*

 By opposition:

Jayawardene accumulated 1000 runs against six of the nine opposition Test teams, with the exceptions of Australia, West Indies, and Zimbabwe. The team against which Jayawardene aggregated the most runs is England — 2212 runs in 41 innings at 58.21. He also has the most centuries (8) against England followed by six each against India and South Africa. He averages the most against Bangladesh: 76.40. Out of his seven double centuries, two each were scored against India and South Africa, with one each against Bangladesh, England, and Pakistan. He also scored five ducks against Pakistan — the most by him against a team.

Opposition Matches Innings Runs Average 100s 50s 150+ 200+ Ducks Highest
Australia 16 29 969 33.41 2 5 0 0 2 105
Bangladesh 13 17 1146 76.40 5 2 4 1 1 203*
England 23 41 2212 58.21 8 10 3 1 2 213*
India 18 28 1822 67.48 6 8 3 2 1 275
New Zealand 13 22 1028 48.95 3 6 1 0 2 167
Pakistan 29 55 1687 32.44 2 10 1 1 5 240
South Africa 17 32 1782 57.48 6 2 4 2 2 374
West Indies 12 18 748 44.00 1 4 0 0 0 136
Zimbabwe 8 10 420 60.00 1 3 0 0 0 100*

By host country:

Jayawardene traditionally struggled outside the sub-continent. He averages 31.42 in Australia, 35.81 in England, 27.71 in New Zealand, 27.87 in South Africa, 42.00 in the West Indies, and 63.25 in Zimbabwe. In the Asian countries, however, he averages 59.10 in Bangladesh, 62.80 in India, 42.75 in Pakistan, 59.72 at home, and 29.90 in UAE. Though averaging less, he has scored at least one century in every country except South Africa (where he has a highest of 98). The table below includes the other numbers.

Host Country Matches Innings Runs Average 100s 50s 150+ 200+ Ducks Highest
Australia 7 14 440 31.42 1 2 0 0 2 104
Bangladesh 7 12 591 59.10 2 1 2 1 1 203*
England 12 23 788 35.81 2 4 0 0 2 119
India 6 10 628 62.80 1 4 1 0 1 275
New Zealand 4 7 194 27.71 1 0 0 0 2 141
Pakistan 9 17 684 42.75 1 3 1 1 1 240
South Africa 8 16 446 27.87 0 1 0 0 1 98
Sri Lanka 81 129 7167 59.72 23 34 12 5 4 374
UAE 6 11 329 29.90 1 0 0 0 1 129
West Indies 4 7 294 42.00 1 0 0 0 0 136
Zimbabwe 5 6 253 63.25 1 1 0 0 0 100*

Home vs Away:

Venue Matches Innings Runs Average 100s 50s 150+ 200+ Ducks Highest
In Sri Lanka 81 129 7167 59.72 23 34 12 5 4 374
Outside Sri Lanka 68 123 4647 39.71 11 16 4 2 11 275

Asia vs Outside Asia:

Venue Matches Innings Runs Average 100s 50s 150+ 200+ Ducks Highest
In Asia 109 179 9399 56.28 28 42 16 7 8 374
Outside Asia 40 73 2415 34.50 6 8 0 0 7 141

By innings:

Innings Innings Runs Average 100s 50s 150+ 200+ Ducks Highest
Team’s 1st Inning 148 8719 60.13 29 32 15 7 9 374
Team’s 2nd Inning 104 3095 33.64 5 18 1 0 6 166
Inning Innings Runs Average 100s 50s 150+ 200+ Ducks Highest
Match’s 1st Inning 74 3886 53.23 14 12 7 3 6 240
Match’s 2nd Inning 74 4833 67.12 15 20 8 4 3 374
Match’s 3rd Inning 68 1999 30.28 2 13 1 0 5 166
Match’s 4th Inning 36 1096 42.15 3 5 0 0 1 123

By result:

Team’s Result Matches Innings Runs Average 100s 50s 150+ 200+ Ducks Highest
Won 58 89 5173 64.66 17 19 8 2 5 374
Lost 46 92 2706 29.41 5 15 0 7 105
Drawn 45 71 3935 60.53 12 16 8 5 3 275

Partnership statistics:

Jayawardene was involved in many big partnerships over the course of his Test career. In fact, in his 149 Test match career he was involved in exactly 500 partnerships with 46 different partners. Totally, 24334 runs were scored when Jayawardene was at the crease. He was involved in 76 century partnerships, seven double-century partnerships, four 300-plus partnerships and a couple of partnerships in excess of 400.

Partnerships Partners Partnership Runs 50+ 100+ 150+ 200+ 250+ 300+ 400+
500 46 24334 169 76 23 7 5 4 2

Most productive series:

Jayawardene’s most productive series was the one against South Africa in Sri Lanka in 2006. He scored 510 runs in the three innings, which included his career-best 374.

Runs Opposition Innings Average 100s 50s Highest Season Result
510 South Africa 3 170.00 2 0 374 2006 Won
474 England 4 158.00 2 1 213* 2007/08 Won
373 India 5 74.60 1 0 275 2009/10 Lost
354 England 4 88.50 2 1 180 2011/12 Drawn
341 Bangladesh 3 113.66 2 0 165 2007 Won

The series against India was in India, others were in Sri Lanka

Most productive venues:

Runs Venue Innings Average 100s 50s Highest
2921 Colombo (SSC), Sri Lanka 42 74.89 11 9 374
2382 Galle, Sri Lanka 37 70.05 7 12 237
957 Kandy, Sri Lanka 25 39.87 3 4 165
592 Colombo (PSO), Sri Lanka 16 42.28 2 4 123
448 Lord’s, England 8 64.00 2 2 119

Complete coverage of Mahela Jayawardene’s retirement from Test cricket

(Bharath Seervi is a cricket statistician who is obsessed with digging numbers, facts and records related to the game. An active member of Society of Cricket Statisticians of India, he blogs at www.cricketseervistats.blogspot.com. He can be followed on Twitter at www.twitter.com/SeerviBharath and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SeerviCricket)

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