Australia v SL, Champions Trophy, Group A, The Oval June 17, 2013

Sri Lanka propelled by a little Mahela magic

Mahela Jayawardene is adept at making hard runs when his team needs him, and he did so again in this match
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"Power" is batting's buzzword of the modern age. In limited-overs cricket, players are no longer measured by how well they hit a ball, but how hard and how far. That quest has spawned a subset of relatively modern phenomena - setting a stable base, not losing one's shape, swinging through the arc. As Twenty20 salaries expand, and cricket strides close to the glamour that has eluded it in the past, only a handful of batsmen still swear by the old laws.

At the Oval, Mahela Jayawardene crafted a limited-overs innings that like so many he has played before, was a triumph for romantics in an age when muscles and brutality abound. Batting lower down than is customary - for only he has the game versatile enough to fit where the team requires him - he stroked 84 of the most alluring runs in the competition, all made under pressure, at a strike rate exceeding 100.

To label Jayawardene a purist is not to say he is a stickler for tradition, for he wields a slog sweep and over-the-shoulder scoop as well as anyone in the game. But although new strokes have been learnt in the last five years, the essence of his cricket remains as lovingly refined as it has always been. Twenty-first century aggression filtered through age-old method, yielding savagery that seems fashioned from silk. The reverse-sweep he hit off Glenn Maxwell in the 30th over was played late, beneath the eyes, head still, hands sure, wide of the fielder for four.

Like most artists, Jayawardene is fragile too. Early in his innings, any seam bowler worth his salt should fancy an edge to keeper or slip. If he gets through that initial gauntlet, there is still risk in his progress. A creature of instinct, he does not back down to a ball he fancies, and even when well set, the hankering to attack has brought his downfall countless times. At the Oval, inside-out strokes over cover flew perilously close to fielders' hands, and an attempted reverse-sweep off a fast bowler could easily have left his stumps splayed. The joy of his success is heightened by his daring. Every four feels like a caper, each big innings an adventure.

On days where he does not mishit a single ball, like in 2011's World Cup final, the result is fantasy come alive. There are far greater batsmen than he in the game today, but is there a more compelling force in full flow? Sachin Tendulkar perhaps, but few others. In the penultimate over, Clint McKay bowled one at his body, and Jayawardene backed away and stroked it in the two-metre gap between backward point and short third man. Both men had been placed there for exactly that kind of shot, but neither had a hope of preventing four.

Even in the last three years, the fine innings that he alone among Sri Lanka's batsmen could play are numerous. The World Cup final ton is one, the 42 against Pakistan on a World Twenty20 semi-final dustbowl is another. In Tests, the 105 against Australia on a brute in Galle, and the 180 against England at the same venue a year later will linger in the mind. Hard runs, all, though you would never know from the grace with which he beats them out. He is a big-match performer, and with bigger matches than this virtual quarter-final to come, Sri Lanka will hope Jayawardene's hunger intensifies, as it has done in the major tournaments before.

"You could see how desperate I was today," Jayawardene said. "So I'll be desperate for every game to win, simple as that. It's not about trophies or whatever - it's just to win matches. So I'll have that same passion and same desperation to win games, doesn't matter if it's a semifinal or final or just a group game. As long as I have that attitude and the rest of the boys, we'll go a long way."

It is easy to read his figures and remark that Jayawardene's record is fairly mediocre, mistakenly assuming the one-day tracks in Sri Lanka are as conducive to stroke-making as pitches north, beyond the Palk Strait. It is Sri Lanka's lot to be lumped with the giants of the subcontinent, but spinners have long reigned over batsmen on the island, and lately the quicks have had their days as well. In any case, Colombo's humidity had made swing bowling effective in ODIs even before the recent renaissance in seam-friendly pitches. No Sri Lanka batsman has ever retired with an average over 40, but the team has rarely failed to be a force in ODIs since 1996.

They arrive now, at another semi-final - their sixth in the last eight world tournaments. Kumar Sangakkara's diligence and drive saw the side through the early matches, but it took a little Mahela magic to propel them in a squeeze.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on June 18, 2013, 14:12 GMT

    I definately think India vs Sri Lanka will be an even game....while India have shown awesome form...Sri Lanka too have shown a lot of promise in the last 2 games....the game will surely be a cracker....the only advantage that India has over Srilanka is the batting strength...India bat deep and bat really well where as srilanka depend a lot on top 3....more over most Indian batsmen can score huge 100's at a very very fast rate....but nevertheless....the lankan bowling is marginally better....lets see who wins :D

  • on June 18, 2013, 13:52 GMT

    What do you get if you mix tendulkars beautiful shots in his hey days,dhoni's brutal honesty and humble approach esp when he speaks,amlas run machine attitude,haydens appetite for big scores in tests,flemings shrewdness in captaincy,dravids consistency and humility...yup Mahela Jayawardene!at least in his peak!The way he cuts and plays his shots with timing makes it look like he is cutting butter.Thats how clean,graceful and sweet his shots are.And now he has innovative shots with his t20 experience too!My heart goes out to him,that he should lose 2/3 major icc finals.Else we would have seen this man even higher.Lose or win,he is such a wonderful player and more importantly a wonderful human being.Please play for a long long time mahela,admire your talent,but utmost admiration n respect for your character on/off the field! SL has been the most consistent than anyone else in major ICC events for almost 10 years now! Whaddaplaya,captain n human too!..& that too in Tests,Odis&t20 all 3!!

  • on June 18, 2013, 3:53 GMT

    I cannot think of any batsman who can be lethal in all 3 formats as Mahela. In modern cricket we see some batsman's dominate in one or two formats. But this little Sri Lankan master is a genius in all three formats and capable of winning any match single handedly. Andrew, I totally agree with you. Statistically there could be a number of better players going around. However, all these statistical analysis forgets cricket is a team sport and this guy done so much to Sri Lankan and world cricket unlike some other legendary cricketers.

  • McGorium on June 21, 2013, 1:34 GMT

    It's easy to remark MD's record is mediocre, because it's true. His ODI record is forgivable because he bats down the order, and it's hard for anyone batting below #3 to have a high average. A good look at his test record will reveal that he averages less than 35 in England, Australia, SA, and NZ. His average is propped up by a great record on flat SL pitches (and India). He doesn't hold a candle to Sangakkara, who is by a long margin, the best batsman SL ever produced. Compare Mahela's overseas average to Sanga's, Tendulkar, Dravid, and you'll find he is far worse. Mahela looks like he's a purist, but his technique is far from pure.

  • g.narsimha on June 19, 2013, 3:53 GMT

    The fab 3- SANGA, MAHELA, DILSHAN- if any one of these 3 stays at the wicket , they will surly win the match for thier team as done by SANGA vrs ENG & JAYS vrs AUS , even though IND blessed with few very talented batsman in VIRAT, DHAWAN, etc they have to go long way & perform to be counted at par with these greats, after retirement of DRAVID, LAXAN, GANGOLI & SAChIN (on the verge of retirement from all formets ) from IND& INZY, ANWAR,YUSUF from PAK, we are left with these three class batsmen from our region , only worrying thing is where as IND was able to find replacements , sadly SL could not unerth any batsman even with falf the class , talent of these 3,we thought of CHANDIMAL, but inspite of so many opportunities he failed to deliver in most ot the times when team needed him, same goes to PAK -BEST OF LUCK TO BOTH TEAMS -LET THE BETTER TEAM WIN TOMMORROW -

  • wickyvick on June 19, 2013, 0:13 GMT

    If Sri Lanka wants to win the game against India, someone from the top 4 has to bat at least 40 overs. Please get rid of Kusal Perera, totally waste of time, he`s like Ronchi from New Zealand. Mahela need to score runs consistantly not taking another 10-12 matches to do that. Mahela is a inconsistent player in 50 over game , that`s why he has 33 average for 11,000 runs, when others have 40 + . They desperately need the service of J.Mendis & Thisara to win against India.

  • on June 18, 2013, 21:53 GMT

    I hope Sri Lanka selects Thisara Perera or Sachitra Senanayake, instead of Shaminda Eranga. Eranga will be thrashed around by the India. He needs time to develop.

  • on June 18, 2013, 19:25 GMT

    The magnificence of a poet is not how lengthy his poems are, The greatness of a car is not how fast is can be driven, The majesty of a king is not how vast the empire he rules, The legend of a cricketer is not how many or how long, but how pleasing thus Mahela!

  • meerkat55 on June 18, 2013, 18:36 GMT

    Thank you for the lovely article Andrew. I couldn't put them in words what I had thought, but you put them in words beautifully. I watched three of the four of his innings you mentioned and witnessed one of them among the crowds and I felt the same. I'd pay anything and travel anywhere to watch this craftsman. 180 against England at Galle is the best Test innings I've ever watched. Mahela play his innings to the situations and to win the matches; never to improve his figures or records. That's another reason that he stands out. Anybody who love cricket, would enjoy watching Mahela play.

  • on June 18, 2013, 18:06 GMT

    The secret to SL's success in this tournament is their key players coming in to form at the right time. First it was Malinga's magic against NZL then Sangakkara's elegant display of constructing an innings of high class under pressure and finally Mahela showing why he has 11,000 ODI runs under his belt. In my opinion India treats Kusal Perera as a key wicket especially after his impressive performance against them in the warm up games. I'll be surprised if SL decide to go to this game with Shaminda Eranga and it'd be a wise decision to include Thisara Perera to give some strength to that batting line up. India unarguably has the best batting line up in the world at the moment and the only way to rattle them would be to get the ball moving in the air. I would like to see Malinga opening with Kulasekara as they both men are capable of swing the ball away from the Indian openers.

  • on June 18, 2013, 14:12 GMT

    I definately think India vs Sri Lanka will be an even game....while India have shown awesome form...Sri Lanka too have shown a lot of promise in the last 2 games....the game will surely be a cracker....the only advantage that India has over Srilanka is the batting strength...India bat deep and bat really well where as srilanka depend a lot on top 3....more over most Indian batsmen can score huge 100's at a very very fast rate....but nevertheless....the lankan bowling is marginally better....lets see who wins :D

  • on June 18, 2013, 13:52 GMT

    What do you get if you mix tendulkars beautiful shots in his hey days,dhoni's brutal honesty and humble approach esp when he speaks,amlas run machine attitude,haydens appetite for big scores in tests,flemings shrewdness in captaincy,dravids consistency and humility...yup Mahela Jayawardene!at least in his peak!The way he cuts and plays his shots with timing makes it look like he is cutting butter.Thats how clean,graceful and sweet his shots are.And now he has innovative shots with his t20 experience too!My heart goes out to him,that he should lose 2/3 major icc finals.Else we would have seen this man even higher.Lose or win,he is such a wonderful player and more importantly a wonderful human being.Please play for a long long time mahela,admire your talent,but utmost admiration n respect for your character on/off the field! SL has been the most consistent than anyone else in major ICC events for almost 10 years now! Whaddaplaya,captain n human too!..& that too in Tests,Odis&t20 all 3!!

  • on June 18, 2013, 3:53 GMT

    I cannot think of any batsman who can be lethal in all 3 formats as Mahela. In modern cricket we see some batsman's dominate in one or two formats. But this little Sri Lankan master is a genius in all three formats and capable of winning any match single handedly. Andrew, I totally agree with you. Statistically there could be a number of better players going around. However, all these statistical analysis forgets cricket is a team sport and this guy done so much to Sri Lankan and world cricket unlike some other legendary cricketers.

  • McGorium on June 21, 2013, 1:34 GMT

    It's easy to remark MD's record is mediocre, because it's true. His ODI record is forgivable because he bats down the order, and it's hard for anyone batting below #3 to have a high average. A good look at his test record will reveal that he averages less than 35 in England, Australia, SA, and NZ. His average is propped up by a great record on flat SL pitches (and India). He doesn't hold a candle to Sangakkara, who is by a long margin, the best batsman SL ever produced. Compare Mahela's overseas average to Sanga's, Tendulkar, Dravid, and you'll find he is far worse. Mahela looks like he's a purist, but his technique is far from pure.

  • g.narsimha on June 19, 2013, 3:53 GMT

    The fab 3- SANGA, MAHELA, DILSHAN- if any one of these 3 stays at the wicket , they will surly win the match for thier team as done by SANGA vrs ENG & JAYS vrs AUS , even though IND blessed with few very talented batsman in VIRAT, DHAWAN, etc they have to go long way & perform to be counted at par with these greats, after retirement of DRAVID, LAXAN, GANGOLI & SAChIN (on the verge of retirement from all formets ) from IND& INZY, ANWAR,YUSUF from PAK, we are left with these three class batsmen from our region , only worrying thing is where as IND was able to find replacements , sadly SL could not unerth any batsman even with falf the class , talent of these 3,we thought of CHANDIMAL, but inspite of so many opportunities he failed to deliver in most ot the times when team needed him, same goes to PAK -BEST OF LUCK TO BOTH TEAMS -LET THE BETTER TEAM WIN TOMMORROW -

  • wickyvick on June 19, 2013, 0:13 GMT

    If Sri Lanka wants to win the game against India, someone from the top 4 has to bat at least 40 overs. Please get rid of Kusal Perera, totally waste of time, he`s like Ronchi from New Zealand. Mahela need to score runs consistantly not taking another 10-12 matches to do that. Mahela is a inconsistent player in 50 over game , that`s why he has 33 average for 11,000 runs, when others have 40 + . They desperately need the service of J.Mendis & Thisara to win against India.

  • on June 18, 2013, 21:53 GMT

    I hope Sri Lanka selects Thisara Perera or Sachitra Senanayake, instead of Shaminda Eranga. Eranga will be thrashed around by the India. He needs time to develop.

  • on June 18, 2013, 19:25 GMT

    The magnificence of a poet is not how lengthy his poems are, The greatness of a car is not how fast is can be driven, The majesty of a king is not how vast the empire he rules, The legend of a cricketer is not how many or how long, but how pleasing thus Mahela!

  • meerkat55 on June 18, 2013, 18:36 GMT

    Thank you for the lovely article Andrew. I couldn't put them in words what I had thought, but you put them in words beautifully. I watched three of the four of his innings you mentioned and witnessed one of them among the crowds and I felt the same. I'd pay anything and travel anywhere to watch this craftsman. 180 against England at Galle is the best Test innings I've ever watched. Mahela play his innings to the situations and to win the matches; never to improve his figures or records. That's another reason that he stands out. Anybody who love cricket, would enjoy watching Mahela play.

  • on June 18, 2013, 18:06 GMT

    The secret to SL's success in this tournament is their key players coming in to form at the right time. First it was Malinga's magic against NZL then Sangakkara's elegant display of constructing an innings of high class under pressure and finally Mahela showing why he has 11,000 ODI runs under his belt. In my opinion India treats Kusal Perera as a key wicket especially after his impressive performance against them in the warm up games. I'll be surprised if SL decide to go to this game with Shaminda Eranga and it'd be a wise decision to include Thisara Perera to give some strength to that batting line up. India unarguably has the best batting line up in the world at the moment and the only way to rattle them would be to get the ball moving in the air. I would like to see Malinga opening with Kulasekara as they both men are capable of swing the ball away from the Indian openers.

  • Raghzzz on June 18, 2013, 17:54 GMT

    Australia seriously need to think should they have Watson in their lineup. He's become too much of a liability and is probably the most overrated cricketer in the world.

    Australia need to get batsman of their ilk, who are arrogant, in your face, aggressive batsmen.. That has been the hallmark.. These batsmen are too timid to any challenge..

  • on June 18, 2013, 17:39 GMT

    Elegance in the shot making is one of the trademarks of Mahelas Batting in all formats of the game.. More importantly, over the years Mahela had proved himself as a player who can read the game well- That indeed placed him as one of the successful cricket captains.. In terms of the match, Australians had shown lot of character till the end. But end of the day better team deserve the win.. Well done Sri Lanka !

  • rayfanatics on June 18, 2013, 17:21 GMT

    Cmon Kepili Buster. The game would have been over if Vettori's decision would have been overturned. So stop holding on to "that astonishingly poor umpiring decision". Well written Andrew Fernando. Beautiful prose. But where is Mahela when Sri Lanka gets thrashed outside their shores? He is not even the best batsman in his own team. That honor is reserved for Sanga, an all condition batsmen. When it comes to languid beautiful batting, even Rohit is graceful, where is the grit though?

  • uksar on June 18, 2013, 17:09 GMT

    Considering the pressure of the knock out stage of the tournament I think now Srilanka is the most favourite with the experience they have. No team can match the talent & experience of Mahela-Sangaka-Dilsan and inform Malinga can make a lot of difference and also we all know (Australia better know) in conducive conditions how dreadful Kulusekara can be.

  • Cannuck on June 18, 2013, 16:07 GMT

    The beauty of Mahela is not only is he dominant in all formats, but also the way he's adapted to the changing game. Before T20 he never played any over the shoulder, reverse or sweep a ball outside the off stump. He has re-inventing his attacking style from school days for the newer formats. He has every shot in the book, all around the wicket. Combine that with his ability to read a game, you have one of the sharpest minds tin Cricket ever! He may not be an allrounder but his name is etched in more than half of Murali's 800 scalps, thanks to his safe hands. He may not have Sanga's silver tongue with an accent, but he is equally eloquent in front of a micraphone to express his views. But the most amazing thing about him is his humble ways outside the game. He is by far one of the nicest guys a fan can meet, & expect to exchange a few words. He is a genuine family man who loves his wife, parents & loyal to his friends. At the end of the day no statistic or average can beat that!

  • KEVINSL on June 18, 2013, 15:47 GMT

    congrats Sri Lanka. we deserved to win this game. I really appreciate the way the Aussies approach to the batting. bcz they just not needed to hide from the truth. they just wanted to reach the target within 29 overs. good luck for Sri Lanka to Semi finals.... good luck to aussies for the ashes..

  • LankaGod on June 18, 2013, 15:36 GMT

    My favourite batsman to watch (in no particular order): Lara (for the genius of finding gaps) Tendulkar (for the beauty and sheer correctness of technique) Mahela (for making it poetry in motion) Gilchrist (for the brute power and timing)

  • khansaheb on June 18, 2013, 15:33 GMT

    He is a class act and one of the greats....he is such a delight to watch when he is in full flow...he is the only player in lankan team who steps up in vital time...a big match and an impact player...it will be interesting to see how he plays against india...i want to see him playing a match winning knock against india in a winning cause...he played a gem against india in the world cup final but unfortunately in a losing cause....

  • LankaGod on June 18, 2013, 15:32 GMT

    @Puneet Mahajn Couldn't agree with you more mate!

  • on June 18, 2013, 15:30 GMT

    What a relief that this forum is not filled with immature digs between Indian and SriLankan fans degrading each other's teams but actually acknowledging each other's strength. Hope this peace lives on and we get to discuss and debate actual cricketing topics instead of what the norm has been- trumpeting our own teams at the cost of the other.

  • on June 18, 2013, 15:14 GMT

    I don't know why but somehow mahela always reminds me of kallis who is probably the most underrated cricketer of all time. In some ways, mahela is also underrated like that. Does winning major trophies make you a greater batsman or raise your respect?

  • Surajdon9 on June 18, 2013, 15:11 GMT

    Just one word Mahela You Beauty...

  • on June 18, 2013, 14:51 GMT

    Does it come as a surprise to anyone that the most respected and universally loved players are the ones who are not arrogant, do not swear at their opponents and are never in a controversy- sample the list- Sangakarra, Mahela, Murali, Tendulkar, Dravid, Kumble, Gilchrist, Kallis, Amla, Cook, Lara, Chanderpaul, Saeed Anwar, Wasim Akram, Malinga- and this is just the list from the 90s. Yes, there are geniuses like Shane Warne, Ponting, Steyn, Harbhajan, Pietersen- but the controversies and their attitude have somehow always overshadowed their talent; they might have divided opinion and made fans all over but somehow not the same respect as the earlier list.

  • on June 18, 2013, 14:50 GMT

    Mr. Andrew Fidel Fernado, Your command over the beautiful English language is admirable! The way you craft your sentences is amazing. I have become a fan of yours. Every piece you had written in recent times was a lovely piece of excellent English prose, almost bordering poetry. The best was your piece on Misbah, which was as fluid and languid as Midbah's batting! I am neither a Pakistani nor a Sri Lankan; but am an admirer of the great game of cricket and the equally attractive language, English.

  • on June 18, 2013, 14:23 GMT

    I agree with Kepili. If not for that poor umpiring decision we would have headed our Group and would have played South Africa instead of India who no doubt have the best batting line up. So 3 reviews should be in allowed in all major tournaments

  • Nitin2208 on June 18, 2013, 14:23 GMT

    Yesterdays match just proves that the team will always perform at their best when they have evrything to loose on the other hand after AUS realised they wont be getting the target in required overs for them to reach in semis they seem to have lost the match there only just because they had nothing to play for.. (On the other hand they should have atleast made an decent effort towrds winning the match)

  • Selassie-I on June 18, 2013, 13:25 GMT

    bit of a discrace that there was still recognised batsmen in at the 29 over point, they should have been giving their wickets away from trying to get the score at least. they could at least have gone down with some honour then.

  • lankawekollek on June 18, 2013, 13:05 GMT

    need a big win in semis.

  • on June 18, 2013, 12:55 GMT

    what a craftsmanship he showed in the game.your maturity needs to hold the team together and also calmness. hope this will apply in the game of semi final on Thursday.. good luck Mahela and the rest. show your desperation in the game AS MAHELAAND DILSHAN and Kula.. hope that will injects to the rest of the team. if so winning the game so easy.. (from the past few game experience..)

  • SLfan on June 18, 2013, 12:50 GMT

    @ Kepili_Buster - Very good points mate ! Actually that decision of Tim Southee which was turned down by umpire Bruce Oxenford was really hard to believe...Yeah, of course umpires are human beings and they can make mistakes, but if you closely follow Bruce Oxenford's most decisions in the past, I'm sure most of you would be surprised that whether he should be in the elite panel or not...Umpires like Tony Hill, Marais Erasmus, Aleem Dar, Billy Bowden are very good umpires and generally make good decisions..Yeah, occasionally they make mistakes too. But as a keen follower of Cricket, I can assure you that if you refer past matches officiate by Bruce Oxenford, you would be surprised about most of his poor decisions...

  • haalithjr on June 18, 2013, 12:26 GMT

    Congratulation Little master of Ceylon. In simple words Mahela is Marvelous & Manthra of SL Cricket.

  • SLC-2020 on June 18, 2013, 11:57 GMT

    Here is a question, are we sufficiently using the technology for the benefit of the game? A solitary review/side/match in a world tournament? The Group A match SL lost is a prime example of how a match result can be changed at the last stage, due to an astonishingly poor umpiring decision! This type of single decision can cost a team not only the winning points but the Championship! The players are heavily penalized for wrong doing & even jailed! On the other hand Umpires considered to be supremely honest & never get penalized for any decision.. no matter how naked or grave their decision can be! "Genuine-blunders" & "Obvious-benders" are 2 different things! Do we have to let them kill the sport that we love so easily? ICC please save the sport we love!!! How many times umpires waste time on unnecessary reviewing of clearly made runs? Cut down this and make room for at least 3 DRS reviews per side, which would be much more meaningful! Otherwise CRICKET would become another circus!!

  • trav696 on June 18, 2013, 11:47 GMT

    With all do respect as a Sri Lankan, I wish Malinga could slim down a bit, haha. He has quite a big stomach and would actually look a much more threatening bowler if he looked fit and in shape. That would also improve his field coverage and might also help him generate more pace too. He did bowl quite well against Aus and that Usain Bolt pose... Malinga you gem <3

  • coolie on June 18, 2013, 11:45 GMT

    West Indies should have included Chanderpaul and they would have made it this far just like the Lankans...

  • Lankan_Pride07 on June 18, 2013, 11:29 GMT

    Ind vs SL!! Nt again!! Well, to all our fellow Indian fans,, Yes, as a diehard SL cricket follower/ fan/ Sri Lankan,,, I agree that India has the upper hand over SL currently for the past 4 or 5 years! Only a fool would debate otherwise!! Indian batting line-up is the best in the world,, no question about it!! So in one way,, SL wud hve been comfortable with any other opposition but India! In a way this is good! The Lankans should look at it as if; 'If you wanna be the best, then you gotta beat the best' sort of attitude. There is no shame in agreeing that they are up against it!! So yeah!! I hopefully crossed my fingers, praying tht the tables change this time around!! The law of probabilities!!

  • on June 18, 2013, 11:13 GMT

    congrats mahela and Lankan team!!!!!!! after 2011 wc final Mahela didnt play a single match winning inning. i just love him in last year IPL when he was in full flow. mahela and sanga r the best lankan batsman (after Arvinda). Dilshan is bit of slogger. and parera is waste down the under. Hope lanka think tank take this into consideration.

  • CrICkeeet on June 18, 2013, 10:31 GMT

    Well done.. U really dsrve it, waiting 4 d semi's f8

  • Siva44472 on June 18, 2013, 9:40 GMT

    Congrats Mahela for completing 11k runs in ODI. He is the best srilankan batsman. You r the class act. For so many years, you are the pillar for srilanka. Truely, a team member who gives 200 % to the team. Very commited cricketer, he needs to mentor the young players. Go Mahela... win the cup

  • JBala84 on June 18, 2013, 8:28 GMT

    Well done Mahela! A great player and a brilliant mentor! 11K Runs is not only an achievement, but a number that most will never get too, let alone exceed! True SL legend! May the runs keep coming... ;-)

  • Dr.Lakson on June 18, 2013, 8:21 GMT

    Great innings! Excellent articulation on Mahela. Can stats guru do a calculation to calculate the value of an inning in-context. i.e Quantify the impact of the innings. Mahela should come on top....... A simple method would be to consider the difference between the score by the batsmen with the average score for that match.......

  • madhurajay on June 18, 2013, 7:37 GMT

    Congratulations Mahela on your11000!!!!! He is aggressive where he needs to be. He is cool where others fail to be. Mahela and Sanga are the two who kept SL on the track from where Arjuna's era winded up. Hope the batten change will be successful this time as well with Math, Thri and the crew.

  • Perera32 on June 18, 2013, 7:13 GMT

    @gsingh7: I don't think anyone will surpass Tendulkar in ODI's mate. Even as a Sri lankan supporter, to me Sachin will be and always be the best batsmen ever in ODI cricket. It's amazing how Mahela doesn't even play a single shot in anger. Even when he got a full toss, he just tried to place the ball into the gap by guiding it away elegantly. Many say that Sangakkara is the best batsmen in the SL team, but Mahela has been the most dominant in all 3 forms of the game for SL. Class.

  • on June 18, 2013, 7:11 GMT

    The masterclass Mahela, masterfully written by Andrew. One of the many fine innings and one of the many fine articles by either Srilankan...Cheers!

  • Ravenous on June 18, 2013, 6:50 GMT

    I mean no disrespect to the writer. Marvelous choice of words to describe undescribable batting. Lets face the truth, you wrote about Sanga the other day and then he was literally jinxed in the last match. Now you have written about Mahela. We know what's going to happen to him in the next match now, don't we?

  • stormy16 on June 18, 2013, 6:21 GMT

    A great read and yet another under presure masterclass from Mahela. When you look at the other batters no one really got in on that wicket other than for Thiri who blocked his way to 50 but Mahela actually looked comfortable and in total control under serious pressure in a crunch game. His placement is almost unbelievable when you consider he hardly hits a ball in anger. The late cut refered to in the last over and the two back to back sweep and reverse sweeps were all just pure timing and placement. The most amazing thing abuot is he comes to the partly time and again in crunch games. Yes people will always say he is a flat track bully etc but just look at his exploits at the top of the order in Aus against good pace bowlers.

  • gsingh7 on June 18, 2013, 5:57 GMT

    Always loved mahela's batting.very elegant just like kohli or bell . At times he is sole constructor of the innings just like sachin of old. But team around him have Let him down just like 2011 finals.congrats on 11000 mahela, although cant see him surpassing sachin s 18500 runs in odis

  • Aaryabhatta on June 18, 2013, 5:42 GMT

    My favourite batsmen outside India-KP,Jaya,AB....

  • on June 18, 2013, 5:39 GMT

    We have been so used to Mahela's presence in the team and it will be so tough when he retires. I hope Chandimal and Thiri would get to their shoes and would carry Srilanka forward.

  • on June 18, 2013, 5:28 GMT

    Use of Words are more attractive.

  • on June 18, 2013, 4:57 GMT

    Could not be more articulate in describing Mahela's contributions in this game and the ones before.

  • sl_cricket on June 18, 2013, 4:33 GMT

    its important to be noted his 2007 world cup semi final performance against new Zealand. Where he scored around 114 under pressure...i would rate that close to 2011 world cup final century.

  • on June 18, 2013, 3:44 GMT

    This article has brilliantly captured the essence of Mahela - a batsman "like no other".

  • SG_Styles on June 18, 2013, 3:11 GMT

    Sheer class !! In last few years, watching him build his innings in d shorter format's been really a delightful experience to d eyes..! There are only a handful f players who can play aggressive knocks with such an ease n without much use f brute power... Mahela n Sachin perhaps d only remained in d game... Nothing can be more delightful than watching'em hitting d ball in full flow....

  • on June 18, 2013, 2:32 GMT

    A beautifully written piece.

  • on June 18, 2013, 2:32 GMT

    A beautifully written piece.

  • SG_Styles on June 18, 2013, 3:11 GMT

    Sheer class !! In last few years, watching him build his innings in d shorter format's been really a delightful experience to d eyes..! There are only a handful f players who can play aggressive knocks with such an ease n without much use f brute power... Mahela n Sachin perhaps d only remained in d game... Nothing can be more delightful than watching'em hitting d ball in full flow....

  • on June 18, 2013, 3:44 GMT

    This article has brilliantly captured the essence of Mahela - a batsman "like no other".

  • sl_cricket on June 18, 2013, 4:33 GMT

    its important to be noted his 2007 world cup semi final performance against new Zealand. Where he scored around 114 under pressure...i would rate that close to 2011 world cup final century.

  • on June 18, 2013, 4:57 GMT

    Could not be more articulate in describing Mahela's contributions in this game and the ones before.

  • on June 18, 2013, 5:28 GMT

    Use of Words are more attractive.

  • on June 18, 2013, 5:39 GMT

    We have been so used to Mahela's presence in the team and it will be so tough when he retires. I hope Chandimal and Thiri would get to their shoes and would carry Srilanka forward.

  • Aaryabhatta on June 18, 2013, 5:42 GMT

    My favourite batsmen outside India-KP,Jaya,AB....

  • gsingh7 on June 18, 2013, 5:57 GMT

    Always loved mahela's batting.very elegant just like kohli or bell . At times he is sole constructor of the innings just like sachin of old. But team around him have Let him down just like 2011 finals.congrats on 11000 mahela, although cant see him surpassing sachin s 18500 runs in odis

  • stormy16 on June 18, 2013, 6:21 GMT

    A great read and yet another under presure masterclass from Mahela. When you look at the other batters no one really got in on that wicket other than for Thiri who blocked his way to 50 but Mahela actually looked comfortable and in total control under serious pressure in a crunch game. His placement is almost unbelievable when you consider he hardly hits a ball in anger. The late cut refered to in the last over and the two back to back sweep and reverse sweeps were all just pure timing and placement. The most amazing thing abuot is he comes to the partly time and again in crunch games. Yes people will always say he is a flat track bully etc but just look at his exploits at the top of the order in Aus against good pace bowlers.