Home > Features >

Sri Lanka need Mahela Jayawardene to recreate Lord’s 2006 in 2nd Test at Headingley

Mahela Jayawardene must dig deep to help Sri Lanka win the second match © Getty Images
Mahela Jayawardene must dig deep to help Sri Lanka win the second match © Getty Images

Mahela Jayawardene has the opportunity to help Sri Lanka script something historic at Headingley, writes Nishad Pai Vaidya.

For years, Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene have kept the fans engaged in a debate as to who was the greater of the two? Both batsmen are easy on the eye and a joy to watch on their day. Sangakkara plays with the silken touch and has the typical grace of a left-hander. Jayawardene is well-balanced and has time on his hands to play his strokes.

However, Sangakkara trumped his mate when it came to overseas tours with better performances. Even on the ongoing tour to England, he was the toast of the town with some fantastic scores. However, with the second Test evenly poised at Headingley, Jayawardene holds the key for Sri Lanka, and therein lies the opportunity to leave a lasting impression on England.

Jayawardene’s overall Test average is a fantastic 50.30 (at the time of writing, with him unbeaten on 55 in the second Test). But, what it doesn’t reflect is the huge gulf between his home and away numbers. On Sri Lankan soil, he is a dominant force with an average of 61.12. And, his away average is languishing in the early 40s. This huge gap shows that he hasn’t quite replicated that artistry in more testing, alien conditions. Zimbabwe is the only country where he average over 50 outside the subcontinent. In England, Jayawardene averages 36.38 in 12 Tests with two tons and four fifties (including the Headingley Test).

Though Jayawardene’s record in England isn’t great, six fifty plus scores do show that he did find some consistency. It was just that there was a small period where he struggled that his record took a beating. And, his two tons, both at Lord’s so far, will remain etched in memory.

Who can forget his battling 119 at the Mecca of Cricket in 2006? As Sri Lanka were made to follow on, Jayawardene scripted an epic that kept the England bowlers out and guided Sri Lanka to safety. Under fading light, it was an epic that was to inspire confidence in Sri Lankan cricket. That turned their fortunes around as they had a successful tour that summer and then extended that run of success into the 2007 World Cup. That was a true captain’s hand.

Eight years on, Jayawardene is in similar circumstances with a young side gradually impressing in world cricket. They drew the first Test with some good character and now the second hinges on the contribution of this man. This game should have a result with two days to go, barring inclement weather. Jayawardene has this opportunity to replicate the heroics of 2006 and inspire a victory. Back then, a draw was like a win for a Sri Lankan side searching a platform. This time, they are well settled and look good to push for it. It is not only a chance to script something historic, but also one for Jayawardene to silence the naysayers for the time being. During the ICC World T20 2014, Sangakkara put the icing on the cake. Will Jayawardene add those miles away in Yorkshire?

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

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 30, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Abu Dhabi

Sri Lanka tour of India, 2014

Nov 2, 2014 (13:30 IST)   at Cuttack

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 3, 2014 (09:00 IST)   at Khulna

South Africa tour of Australia, 2014

Nov 5, 2014 (14:05 IST)   at Adelaide

Sri Lanka tour of India, 2014

Nov 6, 2014 (13:30 IST)   at Ahmedabad


West Indies tour of India, 2014

Nov 15, 2014  at Ahmedabad

Match cancelled

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Nov 7, 2014  at Bengaluru

Match cancelled

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 30, 2014  at Hyderabad

Match cancelled

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 27, 2014  at Hamilton

No result

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Oct 25, 2014  at Dhaka

Bangladesh won by 3 wkts


Pakistan vs Australia, 2nd Test


Tendulkar provides teaser on upcoming book

Live Cricket Score Duleep Trophy Central Zone vs South Zone, final at Delhi Day 4: KL Rahul brings up sixth FC century with six; South Zone 148/1

Live Cricket Score Pakistan vs Australia, 2nd Test, Day 3 at Abu Dhabi: Australia bowled out for 261

Don Bradman dismissed twice on the same day

Rohit Sharma looks to strengthen career after an inconsistent year

Yuvraj Singh — have we seen the last of the man who won India three World Cups?

Australia Australia tour of UAE 2014 Australia vs Pakistan Australia vs Pakistan 2014 Central Zone Duleep Trophy Duleep Trophy 2014-15 India Pakistan Pakistan vs Australia Pakistan vs Australia 2014 South Zone South Zone vs Central Zone Sri Lanka Sri Lanka tour of India 2014

India vs Sri Lanka 2014: Chance for both teams to get the No.1 ODI spot

Duleep Trophy 2014-15 final: KL Rahul century guides South Zone to 184/1 at stumps

India vs Sri Lanka 2014: Run feast expected in first ODI in Cuttack

Duleep Trophy 2014-15 final: KL Rahul completes century

Australia reeling at 239/8 at tea on Day 3 of 2nd Test against Pakistan

Don Bradman dismissed twice on the same day

Virat Kohli’s captaincy opportunities important in context of India’s succession plans

Rohit Sharma looks to strengthen career after an inconsistent year

Younis Khan equals Javed Miandad’s record of most 150+ scores by Pakistan batsman

India vs Sri Lanka 2014: Manish Pandey showing signs of fulfilling potential

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

678 Posts | 6 Fans

Video Highlights: Younis Khan century during Pakistan vs Australia 1st Test at Dubai

India A vs Sri Lanka: Fringe players look to impress

NGOs pursue education for all

Dance Basanti from Ungli: Put on your dancing shoes and practice the Basanti move!

Weight Loss Tip #59: Eat oranges to lose weight

Sensex surges 150 points in early trade to regain 27,000-mark

PricewaterhouseCoopers partners Google to offer business solutions to clients

Google X Lab working on nanoparticles to help detect diseases early

Priyanka Chopra has the best no make-up selfie on Instagram, think fans!

Lisa Haydon: I slept off midway while watching the original Shaukeen!

International programme in Animal Husbandry

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here