Former Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene is one of the most decorated players of all time. He was named the best international captain of the year by International Cricket Council in 2006. Jayawardene was a part of the team that lifted the 2014 ICC World T20 trophy. He was a member of the team that made it to the final of the 2007, 2011 Cricket World Cup, 2009 ICC World T20, and 2012 ICC World T20. In 2007, the prolific batsman was nominated as the best Test cricket player of the year. His records in Test cricket are there to be treasured for the forthcoming generations.
Jayawardene was the first player in Sri Lankan cricket’s history to score over 10,000 Test runs. In ODIs too, the batsman has not failed to torture bowlers. He has over 10,000 runs in ODIs and he is the second Sri Lankan player to do so. To date, he is the only one who has scored a hundred in both a World Cup final and a semi-final.
On his 44th birthday, let’s relive some stupendous innings of the right-handed batsman.
374 v South Africa: Record books were re-drafted on this day in Colombo when Jayawardene came to bat. His mammoth effort made his innings the fourth-highest knock of all time. With 43 boundaries, he drafted his 374-run innings. Together with Kumar Sangakkara, he created a 624-run partnership. It is the highest partnership in the history of first-class cricket. In this match, Sri Lanka declared their innings at 756/5 and tasted a 153-run victory.
167 v New Zealand: A total of 30 wickets fell in the match and apart from Jayawardene’s classic 167-run knock, it was Nathan Astle who crossed the half-century mark. Where batsman struggled to score runs, Jayawardene projected his brilliant techniques against spin bowling. Riding on Jayawardene’s brilliance, Sri Lanka emerged victoriously.
115 v New Zealand: In the 2007 World Cup semi-final when Sri Lanka was struggling to make runs, Jayawardene came to the rescue. He came to bat in the middle over when Sri Lanka was in a tough spot. Wickets were falling on the other end, but Jayawardene kept his nerves under control and crafted a beautiful 115-run inning. He blasted off in style and booked a berth for his team in the finals against Australia.
94* vs India: We often discuss the greatest innings, partnerships, and wickets. The right-handed batsman went on to create history in one of the best comebacks. In a match against India, Sri Lanka was nearing defeat in the league game. The team was hanging at 95/6, but Upul Chandana managed to not get out. Jayawardene found his partner and scripted one of the greatest come back in the history of one-day cricket.
275 v India: After India had posted 426 on the scoreboard in the series opener in Ahmedabad in 2009, Sri Lanka needed a strong reply. But Jayawardene with his 275-run inning did more than that as Sri Lanka amassed 760/7. India was successful to draw the match comfortably, but it does not diminish Jayawardene’s mammoth effort.