Ruhuna v Trindiad & Tobago, CLT20 qualifier, Hyderabad

Jayasuriya still has the competitive spark

From the way he strode to the bowling crease, ordered the fielders around and chastised his team-mates' for their mistakes, it was clear that, at 42, Jayasuriya still wants to win

Abhishek Purohit

September 19, 2011

Comments: 7 | Text size: A | A

The Ruhuna players gather around Sanath Jayasuriya after a wicket, Ruhuna v T&T, CLT20 qualifier, Hyderabad, September 19, 2011
Sanath Jayasuriya was at the centre of everything Ruhuna did in the field against Trinidad & Tobago © AFP
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The bat may have lost its capacity to bludgeon attacks but the competitive spark is still alive in Sanath Jayasuriya. His desperation to win today was obvious with his frenetic effort on the field after having fizzled out with the bat. Apart from the fact that he bowled a tidy spell, it was as if he was involved with almost every delivery, rushing to his captain Mahela Udawatte numerous times for discussions, ordering the fielders around frantically, and chiding even the slightest bit of sloppiness on the field. And each of his moves was cheered by the sparse Hyderabad crowd which will always respect him for his repeated assaults on India bowlers.

In the second over of the chase, Jayasuriya strode with gusto, taking typical, busy long strides to hand his cap to the umpire to open the bowling from the Pavilion End. And if someone had missed his name on the giant screen, there was no mistaking that familiar quick-arm action as Jayasuriya started firing in sharp and accurate deliveries.

Two tight overs later, the asking-rate had already touched eight, forcing Daren Ganga to take chances in the fifth over against TM Sampath. Though Trinidad & Tobago managed 16 off that over, Jayasuriya was back to torment them in the sixth. He was bowling flat and fast outside off stump to Ganga with a man just in front of point, a backward point and a square, short third man. Ganga was forced to go for a desperate sweep against the turn but was trapped leg-before. Jayasuriya beamed broadly but the full range of his expressions was around the corner.

After two quiet deliveries, new man Denesh Ramdin drove the last delivery of that over to long-on who managed to concede only a single, despite not charging towards the ball and fumbling the pick-up. That was enough for Jayasuriya to coldly let the fielder know what he thought of his effort.

As T&T set about rebuilding the innings, Jayasuriya's movements became more intense. His dash to have a word with Udawatte became rarer and he started changing the field on his own, mostly from short third man.

Extra cover was motioned to become point. Sweeper cover was sent squarer. He was still not satisfied, and dispatched the man at midwicket to the deep, waving his arms furiously all the time. All this between two deliveries.

He fielded as well as his 42 years would allow him to, quickly getting around to nudges in the circle. A poor throw from cover tested him as he backed up at midwicket with a dive but ended up conceding a run. He got up quickly, glowered at the culprit and let him have it. When he was swung for his only boundary off his last delivery - having gone for only 16 in 23 before - the hurt was visible.

He was still hopeful of victory when T&T needed 19 off the last two overs and exhorted his team-mates to remain calm, wincing at needless attempts to score direct hits. But when Sherwin Ganga lofted over mid-on to finish the game, Jayasuriya was the first to trudge off the field, a disappointed man.

Abhishek Purohit is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by   on (September 20, 2011, 18:54 GMT)

he is the into the hearts of his people!!!!aiya respect!!!

Posted by   on (September 20, 2011, 14:03 GMT)

he losing jewels from his crown one by one... sanath ohhh dear... shouting at fielders and putting the nose in everything is not good idae. HE WAS THE BEST. thats it no can be best always his time has past but why doesnt he understnd that. Ruhuna can get through if they beat leicester which they should. but iam very dissapointed with santh's antics at the field. please retaire former master blaster...

Posted by   on (September 20, 2011, 6:49 GMT)

i always want to see him play.....He is My Fav Explosive Batsman of all time......I Still wish he bats just like old days and make his team Victorious!!!

Posted by gorsi on (September 20, 2011, 6:15 GMT)

Matara Marauder is back !!!! i wud want to see a sparkling inning from him before he goes into legends of cricket for eternity !!!!!!!!

Posted by maddy20 on (September 20, 2011, 5:03 GMT)

It was fun to see Jayasuriya play . Its almost like he still got what it takes to play competetive cricket at 42! Thats what seperates the legends from the rest. Kudos to the great man!

Posted by   on (September 20, 2011, 4:20 GMT)

Though he is 42 his fitness is not second to anyone in the team..Batting Bowling fielding are all still facinated.

Posted by DwightR on (September 19, 2011, 21:12 GMT)

Sanath Jayasuriya- "the heart & mind is willing but the body is weak". not much else to say on him anymore until he joins the hall of fame.

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