Jayasuriya poised for farewell match
Sanath Jayasuriya will bring to an end a 22-year international career when he makes his final appearance for his country at the venue - The Oval - where he made his highest score against England in all formats: 213 off 278 balls in the one-off Test 13 years ago in 1998.
Asked whether Sri Lanka had anything planned for him, stand-in captain Thilina Kandamby said, "We haven't decided yet but we should do something. Sanath is one of the legends that we have ever produced, probably the best one-day player we have got in our country. I wish him all the best and I hope he will do well."
Any chance of Jayasuriya, who turns 42 on Thursday, changing his mind and staying back for the rest of the series was ruled out by Kandamby who is most likely to lead Sri Lanka in the opening ODI with a question mark still hanging over the fitness of captain Tillakaratne Dilshan.
"Sanath won't be staying on for the rest of the series. He has already decided to retire after the first one-day. That's his call and we can't help it," said Kandamby. "If he makes a hundred tomorrow that's the best farewell he can get but that's not within our control.
"Sanath is a brilliant guy so when you have someone like him in your side it gives us a lot of confidence. We know he can deliver with both bat and ball and he is a very important player to have in the team."
Sri Lanka used Jayasuriya's wily spin to successfully probe on Kevin Pietersen's weakness against left-arm bowlers during their nine-wicket win in the Twenty20 International against England in Bristol on Saturday. Pietersen had raced to 41 from 26 balls when Jayasuriya was introduced and it needed just two balls for him to disturb Pietersen's stumps.
"We have different plans for Pietersen. He has not been playing well against left-armers. We have that in the back of our mind and we hope that we can get him out early," said Kandamby.
Jayasuriya is the first ruling Member of Parliament to actively play international cricket after winning his seat at his hometown Matara at Sri Lanka's general elections held last year. For England's captain Alastair Cook, the circumstances of Jayasuriya's recall were unexpected and he is one hoping the farewell isn't too pleasant. "It's slightly surprising for sure," said Cook. "But he reinvented the way people play one-day cricket years ago. Hopefully we don't send him out on a high."
Kandamby said that Dilshan has not been ruled out of tomorrow's match and that there was a 50-50 chance of him playing. "We'll take a decision after practice."
In the event of Dilshan being ruled out of the match, Kandamby said that Mahela Jayawardene would open the batting with Jayasuriya as he did in the Twenty20 at Bristol where he went onto score a match-winning 72 not out off 57 balls.