An emotional Mahela Jayawardene ended his glittering, 17-year Test career on a high on Monday as Sri Lanka won the second and final Test against Pakistan by 105 runs to sweep the series 2-0.
The 37-year-old was hoisted onto his teammates’ shoulders for a lap of honour after the tourists, who resumed their second innings at 127-7 chasing a target of 271, were bowled out for 165 before lunch on the fifth day.
The former Test captain, who had retired from Twenty20 internationals after Sri Lanka’s title-winning campaign in the World T20 in April, will now play only one-day cricket heading into next year’s World Cup.
Sri Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapakse was among the 4,000 home fans who turned up at Colombo’s Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC) to bid goodbye to one of modern cricket’s great batsmen.
“I don’t know what to say, but I promise I won’t cry,” Jayawardene said at the presentation ceremony as firecrackers went off in the stands.
“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.
“Thanks also to my teammates. It’s been great to play for Sri Lanka for so many years. I have always worn this cap with pride and passion.”
Jayawardene finished with 11,814 runs in 149 Tests with 34 centuries, but his average dropped from 50.02 to 49.84 after making four and 54 in his final Test at the SSC.
Pakistan captain Misbahul Haq described Jayawardene as a legend whose absence in the Test arena will be felt by all.
“Not only Sri Lankans, fans all over the world are going to miss him,” said Misbah. “I really wish him best of luck in life. He is really a legend.”
Tottering Pakistan skittled early
Last man Junaid Khan was unable to bat due to injury as Pakistan lost their final wickets on the last morning.
Left-arm spinner Rangana Herath, who claimed nine wickets in the first innings, was once against the chief destroyer with five for 57 in the second.
Pakistan wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed, who started the day on 38, made 55 when he was caught at square-leg off Chanaka Welegedara.
The gutsy Sarfraz was one of the few batting heroes for Pakistan in the series, scoring 55 and 52 in the first Test in Galle and 103 and 55 in the second match.
It was at the SSC that Jayawardene scored a monumental 374 during a world-record partnership of 624 with Sangakkara (287) against a South African attack that included Dale Steyn and Makhya Ntini in 2006.
His 2,921 runs in 27 Tests at the SSC are the most by any batsman at a single ground. He averaged 74.89 at the SSC with 11 centuries and 50 half-centuries.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 19th, 2014.
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