Home > News >

Mahela Jayawardene enjoys fitting farewell to Test cricket

Mahela Jayawardene retired from Test cricket with the end of Sri Lanka's Test series against Pakistan © AFP
Mahela Jayawardene retired from Test cricket with the end of Sri Lanka’s Test series against Pakistan © AFP

Colombo: Aug 18, 2014

One of the game’s most elegant stroke-makers, Mahela Jayawardene, enjoyed a fitting farewell to Test cricket at his home ground as Sri Lanka completed a 2-0 series sweep against Pakistan on Monday. Few cricketers exemplified the spirit of the game better than the gentlemanly 37-year-old, though his pleasant demeanour hid nerves of steel, a calculating, street-smart mind and an obsessive drive for perfection.

His final innings at his favourite Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC) in Colombo on Sunday had been yet another classy knock of 54 that saw him complete the milestone of a half century of Test fifties.

He had retired from Twenty20 internationals after Sri Lanka’s title-winning campaign in the World T20 in April, but will continue in the 50-over game hoping to compete in next year’s one-day World Cup in Australia.

Jayawardene is one of only five batsmen to score more than 11,000 runs in both Test and one-day cricket — the others being Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting, Jacques Kallis and team-mate Kumar Sangakkara.

That he finished with an average of 49.84 over 149 Tests with 34 hundreds, six times passing 200, illustrates his irrepressible hunger for runs through a 17-year-career. Although his form outside Asia had been inconsistent, he set a deluge of records at home.

He scored a monumental 374 during a world record partnership of 624 with Sangakkara (287) against a South African attack that included Dale Steyn and Makhaya Ntini at the SSC in 2006.

Jayawardene looked set to surpass Brian Lara’s record of 400 when he was bowled against the run of play. Ever the team-mate, he preferred to rejoice in his team’s huge win by an innings and 153 runs.

He got an immediate taste of big scores on his Test debut as a 20-year-old in 1997, when Sri Lanka piled up a world record total of 952-6 declared against India at the Premadasa stadium in Colombo.

Slated to bat at number six, the young Jayawardene saw Sanath Jayasuriya make 340, supported by Roshan Mahanama (225), before himself scoring 66.

Jayawardene’s farewell Test was originally scheduled to be played at the P. Sara Oval in Colombo before officials accepted a request to move it to the SSC.

His 2,921 runs in 27 Tests at the SSC are the most by any batsman at a single ground, marked by an average of 74.89 with 11 centuries and nine 50s.

Last month, against Hashim Amla’s South African team, Jayawardene showed his skills had not diminished as he once again revelled in the serene surroundings of the SSC to make a fluent 165.

He bid farewell to another happy hunting ground in Galle in the first Test just over a week ago by making 59 in the first innings, and 26 in the unfamiliar role of an opener in the second as Sri Lanka beat fading light and approaching rain to chase down a target of 99 with 4.2 overs to spare against Pakistan.

- ‘I love you all’ -

Jayawardene was almost lost for words as he addressed a crowd that included Sri Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapakse after the match on Monday. “I don’t know what to say, but I promise I won’t cry,” Jayawardene said at the presentation ceremony.

“I love you all. Thank you so much for the support all these years. I still have a little bit left and I promise I’ll give it my all for the World Cup.”

A prolific slip-catcher, Jayawardene’s 202 catches are second only to India’s Rahul Dravid who holds the record for a fielder other than a wicket-keeper with 210.

Jayawardene was also an astute captain who took Sri Lanka to the World Cup final in 2007. He quit the post in 2009, but continued to play under Sangakkara and Tillakaratne Dilshan before he took on the job again in 2012 for a year as Angelo Mathews was groomed.

Off the field, Jayawardene is the co-owner with Sangakkara of an upmarket fish restaurant in Colombo.

Sangakkara had said ahead of the match that his good friend will be hard to replace.

“Not just me, but the cricket world, Sri Lankan fans and our whole team will feel the loss of a great player like Mahela,” Sangakkara said. “It will take a long time to fill that void.”

Complete coverage of Mahela Jayawardene’s farewell to Tests

World T20 League 2014

Sep 23, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Raipur

World T20 League 2014

Sep 24, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Hyderabad

World T20 League 2014

Sep 25, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Bengaluru

World T20 League 2014

Sep 26, 2014 (16:00 IST)   at Mohali

World T20 League 2014

Sep 26, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Mohali

More

World T20 League 2014

Sep 22, 2014  at Bengaluru

Chennai Super Kings won by 54 runs

World T20 League 2014

Sep 21, 2014  at Hyderabad

Kolkata Knight Riders won by 4 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 21, 2014  at Hyderabad

Hobart Hurricanes won by 6 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 20, 2014  at Mohali

Kings XI Punjab won by 4 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 20, 2014  at Mohali

Perth Scorchers won by 6 wkts

Photos

Cobras vs Hurricanes Match 6 at Hyderabad

Videos

Daniel Flynn looks ahead to Hobart game

Live Cricket Score Hobart Hurricanes vs Northern Knights CLT20 2014 Match 9: Northern Knights win the toss and will bowl first

Brendon McCullum’s stunning fielding effort in CSK vs Dolphins CLT20 2014 match

Chennai Super Kings’ top five batting performances

Hobart Hurricanes vs Northern Knights CLT20 2014: Northern Knights likely XI

Hobart Hurricanes vs Northern Knights, Match 9, CLT20 2014 – Hurricanes’ likely XI

Asian Games Asian Games 2014 Cape Cobras Champions League T20 2014 Chennai Super Kings CLT20 CLT20 2014 Dolphins Hobart Hurricanes Incheon Asian Games India at Asian Games 2014 Northern Knights

CLT20 2014: Wasim Akram heaps praise on Gautam Gambhir’s leadership

Harbhajan Singh named brand ambassador of Kochi Half Marathon

CLT20 2014 Live Scorecard: Hobart Hurricanes vs Northern Knights, Match 9 at Raipur

Hobart Hurricanes vs Northern Knights Live Cricket Score CLT20 2014 Match 9 at Raipur

Cheteshwar Pujara dismissed handling the ball playing for Derbyshire in county match

Australia on the verge of handing out 50 Test caps in a decade!

Hobart Hurricanes vs Northern Knights, Match 9, CLT20 2014: Key Clashes

Chennai Super Kings’ top five batting performances

Asian Games 2014: Afghanistan eye cricketing glory after 2010 heartbreak

Hobart Hurricanes vs Northern Knights CLT20 2014: Northern Knights likely XI

Fan of the Day

Edward Knowles

Edward Knowles

447 Posts | 1 Fans

Video: Brendon McCullum's amazing fielding in CSK vs Dolphins CLT20 2014 match

इन खाद्द पदार्थों के द्वारा किडनी को स्वस्थ रखें

International programme in Animal Husbandry

CLT20 2014 Live Scorecard: Hobart Hurricanes vs Northern Knights, Match 9 at Raipur

Ebola Haemorrhagic Fever: WHO warns Cases to triple to 20,000 by November unless controlled

NGOs pursue education for all

Apple denies plans to shut down Beats Music, may however rebrand it in future: Report

Hobart Hurricanes vs Northern Knights Live Cricket Score CLT20 2014 Match 9 at Raipur

3 similarities between Drishyam and The Devotion of Suspect X!

Scared you’ll lose your job? It might be the reason for your frequent asthma attacks

Deepika Cleavage show controversy: An Open letter to ‘feminists’

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here