Mahela Jayawardene Biography
Few sights in cricket are as visually pleasing as Mahela Jayawardene at the wicket. Every movement is stamped with an abundance of oozing class, purity of technique touched by heavy dollops of elegance. Untouched by time and blessed with economy of style, he can bat forever — thus the many colossal scores. The drive through cover is a joy to the eye and ear, the flick played with a whip of the wrists speaks of languid grace, while the cuts behind the wicket, played at the last possible moment when the ball is well past the bat by all mortal reasoning, can be only described as delectable.
With more than 10,000 runs in both Tests and One-Day Internationals, Jayawardene, along with close friend Kumar Sangakkara, lent the finishing touches to the craft of the Lankan willow, combining indigenous talent of the island with the blueprint of international class. The two have for long been enormous pillars on which Sri Lankan cricket has stood and reached for the stars, often the traces of celestial achievement scripted by the fingers and wrists of Muttiah Muralitharan. Lankan cricket has been put on the world map with finality and finesse by these extraordinary gentlemen even as warfare has raged across the disturbed island.
While lack of success in the foreign fields makes his home record rather lopsided and raises questions about his greatness, some of his achievements have boggled the mind. Standing out among these is the 374 at Colombo against the Proteas, adding 624 with Sangakkara. In the very next Test he scored 123 to effect a nail-biting one-wicket victory while chasing down 352. The overseas efforts have been limited, but one cannot forget the six hour 119 at Lord’s to save the Test.
His creative captaincy has brought the nation the first Test victories in England and New Zealand. He led the team to the World Cup final in West Indies in 2007 and the World T20I final at home in 2012. He scored an impeccable century in a heart-breaking loss in the World Cup final of 2011. After several near misses, the team triumphed in the 2014 World T20I – a long-awaited trophy symbolising the grand service rendered to the nation. However, even without that, Jayawardene has for long been recognised as one of the top two batsmen in the history of Sri Lankan cricket — by fans and figures alike.