Home > Features >

Mahela Jayawardene retirement: 10 memorable moments from the Sri Lankan’s Test career

Mahela Jayawradene retired from Test cricket with 11,814 runs in 149 Tests © Getty Images
Mahela Jayawradene retired from Test cricket with 11,814 runs in 149 Tests © Getty Images

Mahela Jayawardene walked bowed out of Test cricket with 54 in his final Test innings. Sri Lanka have lost not only a batsman, but a leader who inspired them to take on challenges and inculcate a winning mentality away from home. Nishad Pai Vaidya revisits the 10 most memorable moments from Jayawardene’s Test career.

Mahela Jayawardene bid adieu to Test cricket with a memorable 54 runs and sharing a 107-run stand with another legend Kumar Sangakkara. The right-hander has been a colossus for Sri Lanka in the white flannels since his debut in August 1997. The hunger to score big runs has always been Jayawardene’s biggest strength which was backed by good technique and sound temperament. His numbers are compelling, but his impact is looms large. He has not only been a batsman, but a leader of a Sri Lankan generation that took challenges head on and created a winning mindset for future generations.

Here are the 10 most memorable moments  in Jayawardene’s Test career:

1. Test debut against India in August 1997

At the age of 20, Jayawardene walked into a line-up comprising Sanath Jayasuriya, Aravinda de Silva, Roshan Mahanama and Arjuna Ranatunga to name a few. Jayawardene’s initiation came in that famous run-fest against India at the R Premadasa Stadium, when Jayasuriya and Mahanama piled a partnership of 576 runs. Jayawardene walked in at 790 for four and breezed away to 66 in company with Aravinda. It wasn’t a game that tested him, but a good confident start for a future star.

2. First Test ton

Jayawardene’s first Test ton was proof of his quality and class. Playing only his fourth Test, in the year 1998, Jayawardene faced a New Zealand attack led by Daniel Vettori at Galle. In a game where the second highest score was 53, Jayawardene smashed 167 in Sri Lanka’s only innings. The second highest score in the Sri Lankan innings was 36 and Jayawardene had hit more than half of Sri Lanka’s total of 323. Sri Lanka won that Test match by an innings and 16 runs, largely due to Jayawardene’s supreme batting.

3. First double century

Jayawardene has scored seven doubles tons (including the triple) in his Test career. The first one came against India at Colombo in 1999. India had scored 518 runs with Sadagoppan Ramesh and Rahul Dravid scoring tons. In reply, Sri Lanka lost Marvan Attapatu with only 18 runs on the board. In came Jayawardene at No 3 and anchored the innings. His innings of 242 in an innings that saw wickets fall at the other end at regular intervals. He was the last man out with the score on 485.

4. Batting with Kumar Sangakkara for the first time

Kumar Sangakkara and Jayawardene’s friendship is a part of Sri Lankan cricketing folklore. It all started during the summer of 2000. Sangakkara was making his Test debut against South Africa at Galle. The duo got together at 216 for three and put up a partnership of 81 runs before Sangakkara was dismissed for 23. Jayawardene though went on to get a ton as he hit 167. Sri Lanka won the Test by an innings and 15 runs.

Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara shared a record 624-run stand against South Africa. Jayawardene also recorded his career-best 374 in the same match © AFP
Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara shared a record 624-run stand against South Africa. Jayawardene also recorded his career-best 374 in the same match © AFP

5. Captaincy and saving the Test at Lord’s

In early 2006, Jayawardene took over the reins of leadership of the Sri Lankan team that was struggling to find form. He masterminded a revival that saw the start of a remarkable run of form for him and the side. In the first Test at Lord’s against England, Jayawardene battled the odds when Sri Lanka were made to follow on. In a gritty innings of 119, he guided Sri Lanka to safety on the final day and inspired his side to lift their performances on this tour.

6. Winning the Nottingham Test in 2006 and levelling the series 1-1

Though Jayawardene had inspired the Sri Lankans to draw at Lord’s, they lost the next Test at Edgbaston. Sri Lanka hit back in this game and were defending 325. Jayawardene was tactically brilliant and introduced his mean weapon, Muttiah Muralitharan, when the England openers were threatening to take the game away. Muralitharan went on to take eight wickets and Sri Lanka won the match to level the series. This is one of the biggest highlights of Jayawardene’s captaincy. In Photos: Highlights of Jayawardene’s Test career

7. Marathon stand of 624 runs with Sangakkara

They say that marriages are made in heaven, but this batting partnership is one scripted by the gods for the cricket lovers. After South Africa were bowled out for 169 at the Sinhalese Sports Club, Colombo in 2006, Sri Lanka were reduced to 14 for two by Dale Steyn. Jayawardene and Sangakkara came together to stitch the monumental 624-run partnership. In the process, they beat the Jayasuriya-Mahanama record of 576. This remains the highest partnership in Test cricket for any wicket and Jayawardene’s personal score of 374 is the highest by a right-hander in the format.

8. Leading a tough run-chase of 352 against South Africa

Though South Africa were left jaded by the marathon stand in the first Test, they fought back hard in the second, taking a lead after the first innings. They set Sri Lanka a target of 352, on a wicket that was crumbling on the fourth day. Jayawardene led the innings with a silken 123 and held his nerve even when Sri Lanka were losing wickets. Battling Nicky Boje, he kept Sri Lanka in the hunt and was taking them to victory when he fell with the score on 341. There were a few hiccups as Sri Lanka lost their ninth wicket with two runs to win, but it was achieved in the end by Farveez Maharoof. The 2-0 series victory is one of the most memorable moments in Jayawardene’s career.

9. Winning at Wellington and levelling the series 1-1 with New Zealand

Under Jayawardene’s leadership in 2006-07, Sri Lanka had found this new confidence that allowed them to bounce back whenever the chips were down. Having lost the first Test to New Zealand in December 2006, Sri Lanka hit back in the second at Wellington. Though Jayawardene did not make a huge contribution with the bat in the game, his leadership was a highlight and helped Sri Lanka back their style and emerge victorious by 217 runs.

10. Going past Don Bradman on a tough wicket at Galle

Jayawardene was thrust into leadership again when Tillakaratne Dilshan gave up the reins of captaincy in early 2012. His first Test assignment was the two-game series against England at home. On a tough wicket at Galle, where the second highest score in the Sri Lankan team was 27, Jayawardene scored 180 out of the team score of 318. In the process, he went past  Don Bradman’s count of 29 Test tons to record his 30th. Though Jayawardene did not score too many in the second essay, Sri Lanka went on to win the game by 75 runs.

In Photos: Highlights of Jayawardene’s Test career

Complete coverage of Mahela Jayawardene’s retirement from Test cricket

(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_45)

India tour of Australia 2014, Practice matches

Nov 24, 2014 (05:29 IST)   at Glenelg, Adelaide

Pakistan vs New Zealand in UAE, 2014

Nov 26, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Sharjah

India tour of Australia 2014, Practice matches

Nov 28, 2014 (05:29 IST)   at Adelaide

England tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 29, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Colombo

Deodhar Trophy, 2014-15

Nov 29, 2014 (14:30 IST)   at TBC

More

Afghanistan tour of UAE, 2014

Nov 28, 2014  at Dubai

United Arab Emirates won by 5 wkts

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 28, 2014  at Dhaka

Bangladesh won by 21 runs

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 26, 2014  at Dhaka

Bangladesh won by 124 runs

England tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 26, 2014  at Colombo

Sri Lanka won by 25 runs

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 24, 2014  at Colombo

Hong Kong won by 2 wkts

Photos

Phil Hughes suffers head injury: In photos

Videos

Phil Hughes passes away: Video tribute

Sean Abbott will find the road ahead a living nightmare

Phillip Hughes’ death: What happens to India vs Australia Test series?

Phillip Hughes 63 not out, forever

Phil Hughes: Remembering his most memorable knocks

Phillip Hughes passes away: Crying for Phillip Hughes

Australia England India New Zealand New Zealand tour of UAE 2014 New Zealand vs Pakistan New Zealand vs Pakistan 2014 Pakistan Pakistan vs New Zealand Pakistan vs New Zealand 2014 Phil Hughes Phil Hughes Death Phil Hughes head injury Phillip Hughes Sri Lanka

Live Streaming: Sri Lanka vs England 2014, 2nd ODI at Colombo

Live Scorecard: Sri Lanka vs England, 2nd ODI at Colombo

Live Cricket Score: Sri Lanka vs England, 2nd ODI at Colombo

Michael Clarke: Words cannot express the loss we all feel as a team right now

Phil Hughes passes away: Anil Kumble extends his condolences to Hughes family

Murali Vijay in India vs Australia Test series: Will he be an integral part?

Phillip Hughes’ unfortunate demise: Ahmed Shehzad was lucky, Phil Hughes was not

Shakib Al Hasan becomes highest wicket-taker against Zimbabwe in ODIs

Phil Hughes passes away: Cricket gradually gets off and running a day later

Khurram Khan of UAE becomes 7th oldest international captain

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

682 Posts | 6 Fans

Video: Phil Hughes suffers head injury, collapses on field during New South Wales vs South Australia tie

Bigg Boss 8: OMG! Gautam Gulati draggd to the bathroom by Diandra Soares

Bangladesh beat Zimbabwe by 21 runs in 4th ODI; take 4-0 lead in series

वज़न घटाने का नुस्ख़ा #43: वज्रासन से वज़न घटायें

‘एक्शन-जैक्सन’ मूवी के लिए अजय देवगण ने कैसे वज़न घटाया

More broadband connections to boost GDP growth in Asia Pacific: GSMA

Bigg Boss 8 highlights: Ali Quli Mirza left alone, Gautam Gulati gets special present from Diandra Soares

India is becoming our largest overseas market, Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun says

Priyanka Kothari Birthday Special: Sexy looks of the hot actress (In Pics)

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here