Mahela Jayawardene
Sri Lanka's captain and leading Test run scorer

We need to play the Sri Lankan brand of cricket

Doing well in South Africa will be about facing the challenge head on and playing the natural, aggressive game Sri Lanka are known for

Mahela Jayawardene

December 14, 2011

Comments: 53 | Text size: A | A

Angelo Mathews forces a shot through the covers, Pakistan v Sri Lanka, 1st Test, Abu Dhabi, 1st day, October 18, 2011
Angelo Mathews: a potential future Sri Lankan leader © AFP
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We don't tour South Africa that often, so when we get an opportunity, it's a big occasion for us. The South African team has played some really good cricket. They've got some really good fast bowlers, and a good spinner now in Imran Tahir. As a unit they are very potent. We want to take the challenge upon us to try and do something different and win a Test match here. We've come close a few times but we haven't got over the line yet, so that is a major goal for us - to try and win a Test match.

To do that, we've got to try and do the processes right. There are a lot of little things we need to focus on. As a team, we have to be consistent in all departments. We've let ourselves down in a few of the Test matches in the last six months, because we haven't batted well or we haven't been able to bowl teams out twice. We need to try and get that all-round consistency going.

If you analyse it, we haven't been beaten that badly in Tests this year. We had one terrible session in Cardiff in England and lost the series 0-1, but we fought well at Lord's and the Rose Bowl. Against Australia we lost 0-1; we had our opportunities to beat them in the last Test match and we couldn't finish it off. Against Pakistan we had one really poor day and lost the series.

I'm not denying we were outplayed by England, Australia and Pakistan, or claiming their victories were undeserved. Ultimately they played the better cricket and were worthy winners. I'm just highlighting that in six Test matches we fought well and competed. The issue is that we haven't been consistent, and that has been our main problem. Turning it around will not be easy, but from our perspective the only approach to take is to keep building on the positives and try and keep improving.

At the moment we are trying to smooth our transition. For the senior players, it's an important challenge to try to get right. Kumar was exceptional against Pakistan, but both Dilshan and I were disappointed to not have contributed more. Our performances matter because we have to try and take as much pressure off the younger players as we can.

For the batsmen especially, this tour is going to be a tough challenge. Unfortunately for them, we have played England, Australia, Pakistan, South Africa, who are among the top teams in the world right now. But they will learn from this and it will be a big investment for us for the future. Quite a few of them have shown improvement over the last six to eight months. I know they feel more confident now. Hopefully they are heading in the right direction.

In South Africa the conditions will be particularly challenging, but we know what we are up against. Technically you need to sort yourself out a bit.

For the youngsters it's all about confidence. They have to try and play their natural game and not get overwhelmed by the occasion or the conditions or the opposition. Everyone is talented, that's why they are here. So they have to back themselves to go out there and enjoy the game - simple as that.

As it stands now, we've had different batsmen performing at different times. In England, Prasanna Jayawardene got a hundred; Sanga got a hundred right at the end; and Dilshan got a good hundred at Lord's. Against Australia I got a hundred and Angelo Mathews got a hundred. We've had different guys performing individually, but now we need to perform as a unit and get big runs in the first innings of a Test match. The batting unit has to try and take more responsibility, especially the senior guys.

It's about building a team together and not being over-reliant on the senior players. For example, Mathews is probably heading in the right direction. He is somebody who will probably take that mantle forward and try to be a leader. We've got a couple of other young guys coming through the system, and they need time to settle down. Until such time, it's up to the senior players to try to take the team forward.

When it comes to bowling, I am not worried. We've got the talent and we've got the variety. We've been around Murali for too long and depended on him, but it's time the rest of the boys bowled as a unit and created opportunities. These guys have done that, against England and Australia, but they haven't been able to finish it off. The more games they play, the more they will learn how to finish it off and take those five-fors and six-fors and win matches.

Unfortunately Nuwan Pradeep has broken down again, so we are down to our minimum with squad members. The other three guys, Dhammika Prasad, Nuwan Kulasekara and Shaminda Eranga, are doing fitness tests this week, so hopefully we will get a replacement.

Overall, I would say we need to back ourselves to be more aggressive and to play the brand of cricket that we are known to play, which is strokeplay and being flamboyant. Sometimes that sort of approach can change the match in a couple of hours. We need to go back to that and we have the capacity to do that.

Whatever was said before we've arrived, we've heard, and it's great motivation for us to try to make those comments disappear. We've have waited for so long to come here and play cricket so it's a good opportunity for us as well.

Former Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene is the country's leading Test run-scorer

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Posted by Nick.coll on (December 17, 2011, 13:43 GMT)

Trust me guys Whenever SL plays there is not much Xcitement in it. No matter where they play. Jus look at the crowds today, we all know SAF ppl are cricket lovers but againt SL, ppl prefer not to watch in stadium. Change yo Game plan SL and play some Good and decent Cricket outside SL. No Offence.

Posted by KingOwl on (December 17, 2011, 13:14 GMT)

Mahela, I encourage you to keep writing as well - so that we fans know your thinking. On that note, you played your brand of cricket - and lost by an inning. So now what? What is the new strategy? Keep playing the same way or change? If the latter, how? We would really like to know.

Posted by   on (December 16, 2011, 18:28 GMT)

Keep writing Mahela, ignore the people who says not to. Win or lose we will always support your team. That the Sri Lankan way.

Posted by maddy20 on (December 16, 2011, 7:59 GMT)

SL need to play cricket that wins them games! If they continue playing the current brand of cricket, they will not win anything in the foreseeable future!

Posted by josh2david on (December 15, 2011, 18:06 GMT)

@getsetgopk anybody can talk anything retrospective, "If they would have .... it could have" Whatever happened it happened dropped catches never going to be caught again, pakistan dropped few catches then somebody could argue did they really deserve to win with poor fielding, I can say england would have whitewashed SL if rain wouldn't interuppted the matches, so we can keep talking ..... be sensible.

Posted by   on (December 15, 2011, 18:00 GMT)

Mahela, please concentrate on your batting. Writing articles is nothing when your performance is disappointing!

Posted by josh2david on (December 15, 2011, 17:53 GMT)

Why should we talk about india , this teast match SA vs SL , any pitch ? any condotion? man's highest score in Lord's is 34 this is just an example ha ha !

Posted by anilkp on (December 15, 2011, 15:39 GMT)

Hold on, Mahela, would you please stop making statements? We all know what you have achieved and what you can achieve; but your performance--and that of your team post-Murali--is not in harmony with what you have been saying recently. Please take a break from writing columns, Focus on getting some runs, and then think of returning to writing. Please, it is otherwise getting pretty embarassing.

Posted by S.Jagernath on (December 15, 2011, 14:29 GMT)

Why would I be talking about England?Isnt Sri Lanka in South Africa?Any Sri Lankan that is comparing Sachin Tendulkar with any of their batsmen really need to watch cricket & stop focussing on what Sri Lanka does at the SSC.Sachin Tendulkar is exceptional in all conditions,he is technically perfect.Sri Lanka showed their abilities today.

Posted by getsetgopk on (December 15, 2011, 12:57 GMT)

SL had a poor session against England but frankly Pakistan dominated the test matches and if wasn't for those dropped catches it would have easily been 2-0, excuses wont get you anywhere, the problem with SL cricket right now is their bowling, you can put on a thousand runs on the board but if you dont have bowlers to take twenty wickets at best you can make a draw out of it but can never win a test match.

Posted by josh2david on (December 15, 2011, 12:40 GMT)

An average of 34 in team wit 5-0 whitewash is worse the of average of 17 score with getting the results of draw

Posted by josh2david on (December 15, 2011, 12:36 GMT)

S.Jagernath you are good in your statistics i agree but Sachin has been trying for his 100th centuray for few matches cos thats the only target for him , other great batsman like Dravid, Laxman or Shwag look after the match winning , Sachin has regular partners and no presurre in bating , Satistics are not always reflect the potential

Posted by blade_pakkiri on (December 15, 2011, 12:24 GMT)

Of course Sri Lanka will be playing their normal game; Dilshan's inside edges to the boundary, Jayawardene's feathered touches that just about reach the 30 yard circle, Sangakkara's charge down the wicket and lofted shots that fall into no man's land and bowlers of the caliber of Walegedara who lull the batsmen into sleep much like the spectator.

Posted by Mark00 on (December 15, 2011, 11:26 GMT)

It's time to put the "subcontinental flat wicket" myth to rest. If Sri Lankan wickets were flat, then you'd expect that tests typically end in draws. In fact, ground for ground, Sri Lankan wickets have a lower runs/wicket than the ones in England. Having said that Indian wickets are the flattest with the highest runs/wicket. I too used to think like most of you but a Sri Lankan friend pointed out the facts to me on a cricket statistics site where you can compare runs by ground. Need I say I was speechless!

Posted by rohan024 on (December 15, 2011, 8:26 GMT)

good luck to lankans..but if they loose, please jayawardene shouldn't tell us that the "team showed character"..

Posted by HLANGL on (December 15, 2011, 7:50 GMT)

There's a sheer difference between attacking batsmanship & reckless slogging. None of the current SL batsmen have the skill to do the former on a regular basis, which demands some additional skills. For the most part, they are only capable of hitting 100s, 50s by greedy accumulation of runs by the mere occupation at the crease.To make it worse, they can attempt the latter ("reckless slogging") since they don't have the skills for proper attacking strokeplay.Unless they develop the skills for attacking strokeplay & ability to counterattack as the situation demands, they won't find any other means of passing back the pressure exerted by the opponents .The result is, despite the dodgy & uninfluential 100s, 50s made by 1-2 batsmen, SL will continue to loose on a more regular basis, and this is exactly what we see today.The greatness of a batsman is judged by how well & how quickly he can synchronize with the game & take control over the situation. Unless you develop that, may God help you.

Posted by RohanMarkJay on (December 15, 2011, 6:22 GMT)

Good luck to Sri Lankan team. Wishing you all the best.

Posted by johnathonjosephs on (December 15, 2011, 5:43 GMT)

S. Jagernath, you talk about Sri Lanka like they're the only country who struggle abroad. "They're aggressive only on their flat wickets at home"....Need I remind you that India and Sri Lanka both toured England at the same time period. Sri Lanka lost 1-0 and due to a freak session while India lost 4-0. You act like India doesn't play on flat wickets at home About Jayawardene's article, as much as I'd like to ask him to concentrate less on his writing and more on his batting, there is some truth. Lanka may have not won a test, but after the WC this year and 3 series, they only lost 3 times, of which 1 or 2 can be written off to carelessness and collapsing. Hope they learned from their mistakes

Posted by   on (December 15, 2011, 5:16 GMT)

The brand of cricket you are talking about was sealed by Sannath and Aravinda and when sales were tough, the big Arjuna came in to steer the ship to safety. Please Mahela stop saying you play the same brand of cricket. Sorry but this Sri Lankan outfit is boring and lacks quality. Apart from Sangakara no one else including Mahela has ever played well against top quality attacks especially out side sub continent. Mahela can talk all day long but that wont change the fact that he has a very poor average against top fast bowling and quality spin attack.Period

Posted by dsig3 on (December 15, 2011, 5:13 GMT)

I thought Sri Lanka's brand of cricket was to score a zillion runs on a dead pitch before the opposition gets so bored that they give their wickets away. Dont take my word for it this is coming from Russel Arnold.

Posted by mrgupta on (December 15, 2011, 4:46 GMT)

@josh2david: I hope you are aware that Mahela had a batting avg of 17 when he last toured England, and Sanga had a batting avg of 30. Sachin managed a poor series but had batting avg of 34. Mahela's overall avg in England is 34, Sanga's 30 and Sachin batting avg in England is 54. On his last tour to Australia Sachin scored 2 big centuries, and same on his last South African tour. Does that answer your question?

Posted by SpartaArmy on (December 15, 2011, 4:24 GMT)

Flamboyant and stroke play? really ? in in a test match ? in SA ? vs steyn & co ? YOU ? I am happy for Mahela, hope he does well in his gonnab main career - blogging .

Posted by josh2david on (December 14, 2011, 23:51 GMT)

S.Jagernath do you mean, what Sachin batted in England this summer?

Posted by   on (December 14, 2011, 23:47 GMT)

Mahela, you are the LION in the pitch who should lead our team. Haven't seen a one like you who can fight like a lion when it comes to fighting back. SLC must appoint you to lead the team so that you can instill your fighting qualities in others (hopefully). Then only they will learn what you are talking about, the SL brand of cricket.

Posted by r1m2 on (December 14, 2011, 21:29 GMT)

Sorry Jayawardene, SSC, SCC are not in South Africa.

Here's what you do in South Africa: http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/player/49289.html?class=1;home_or_away=2;opposition=3;template=results;type=allround

Posted by S.Jagernath on (December 14, 2011, 19:46 GMT)

It will be very difficult for the Sri Lankans to be aggressive on real cricket pitches,they are very aggressive at home where the pitches are very flat and behave as they are comfortable with it.Mahela Jayawardene has not backed his team up with anything but his words away from the sub-continent.In South Africa,an innings needs to be built through solidity,just like how Sachin Tendulkar batted last year.To bowl in South Africa,a bowler must be able to bowl around the 134 km/h mark,the ball swings dangerously at this pace in South Africa,at that pace the ball must be pitched at about 7m.That is what Zaheer Khan did and he was very successful.Intelligent bowling is always more successful than brute pace.

Posted by Nathan_123 on (December 14, 2011, 19:13 GMT)

Very good observation and wise worlds by VALLAVARAYAR.

Posted by   on (December 14, 2011, 17:01 GMT)

What do you mean "we competed well in 06 matches". 3rd test vs England was saved by rain so was the 2nd test vs Australia. 1st test with Pakistan was saved by Sanga & Prasanna.No we competed well in one match in each of these 03 series.

Posted by Sanath-aiyya on (December 14, 2011, 16:53 GMT)

Dear Mahela, I am a big fan of yours since the day you scored 167 against the Kiwis in Galle. I was still a fan of yours even after the 2003 World cup where you only managed 27 runs in the whole tournament (incidentally in South Africa). My humble opinion is that you should concentrate on your game, focus on your batting and leave "blogging" for post retirement. So far you have been all talk , please let your actions speak for you. The reality is that apart from your food friend Sangakkara, all the other batsmen have let the team down. Focus on scoring your first hundred in South Africa. Always your fan Sri lankan Lion

Posted by Advanced_Donkeys on (December 14, 2011, 15:11 GMT)

jammu-kashmir,pioneers,selfish,bowling....zaltsmaan,corion,pawwow,ponting....greats!!!

Posted by jerryman on (December 14, 2011, 15:06 GMT)

Actions speak louder than words ... no excuses ..just play yr game SL .. we lost to Pakistan , couldnt handle spin , now if we lose , they will say we cannot handle pace.. hopefully we can play real cricket , rather than carelessly losing wickets .. the batsmen must put up a good score , fielding shud be top knotch and then the bowlers will have a chance , hope we play both spinners .. ajanta can be a match winner on his day.. we cannot only depend on sanga , the rest have to back him up..

Posted by Promodth on (December 14, 2011, 14:34 GMT)

Arjuna Ranathunga in a TV program in Sri Lanka said the current cricketers write blogs of there matches. This is because of the stupid agents of Mahela Jayawardene. Stop writing the blogs and consentrate on your cricket and show it in your batting. That is your duty. Let the commentators do this work.

Posted by josh2david on (December 14, 2011, 14:19 GMT)

Mahela rightly said, Sl need to be aggressive what he meant to dominate the game, sadly most of the posters comment T20 that's all the cricket knowledge. Atleast one frontline batsman has to fire like shewag not like paranawithana

Posted by Empty-Sequence on (December 14, 2011, 14:07 GMT)

Hope srilankans does well and shut up big mouths of these morons who think cricket should only be played on green tops. True indian cricketing fan. cheers!!

Posted by Shahul74 on (December 14, 2011, 13:52 GMT)

I think the Mahela bashing in these comments are unfair. Mahela is writing since it is being demanded (as evident in the number of people reading). Supporters need not worry the writing time does not come from his practice schedule. As far as cricket is concerned - ODI and T20 we are satisfactorily healthy and a couple of losses don't mean any thing. If we are lacking in test cricket, why should we blame Mahela for that. If he is not performing well the selectors are free to find a replacement. I am proud of our cricket team for their dedication and know it is a matter of time before they will bounce back to form. If you watch cricket to see your team win "no matter what" that is absurd. I look for quality Batting, Bowling and fielding and I enjoyed some world class cricket even in those losing matches. And I say to all those grumbling SL fans, try to learn something from the Bangladeshi supporters. SL cricket has done wonders with the limited resources available

Posted by vallavarayar on (December 14, 2011, 13:37 GMT)

Being a professional sportsman, I think Mahela has no option but to be ever optimistic and look for the silver lining under the cloud. But for the fans, it grating to read these kind of ridiculous statements. Mahela mentions that the Lankan team was putting up a fight and they had a few opportunities in the last 3 test series. He only rues the lack of consistency. In my opinion the current Sri Lankan team is quite consistent. Consistently mediocre that is. They have one or two good sessions in a five day test and they are happy with that. That, in my opinion, shows the minnow-like thinking in this current SL set up. It's time the fans wised up to a lean period, similar to a pre-Murali era.

Posted by Shahul74 on (December 14, 2011, 13:34 GMT)

I think the Mahela bashing in these comments are unfair. Mahela is writing since it is being demanded (as evident in the number of people reading). Supporters need not worry the writing time does not come from his practice schedule. As far as cricket is concerned - ODI and T20 we are satisfactorily healthy and a couple of losses don't mean any thing. If we are lacking in test cricket, why should we blame Mahela for that. If he is not performing well the selectors are free to find a replacement. I am proud of our cricket team for their dedication and know it is a matter of time before they will bounce back to form. If you watch cricket to see your team win "no matter what" that is absurd. I look for quality Batting, Bowling and fielding and I enjoyed some world class cricket even in those losing matches. And I say to all those grumbling SL fans, try to learn something from the Bangladeshi supporters. SL cricket has done wonders with the limited resources available

Posted by RandyOZ on (December 14, 2011, 12:31 GMT)

Mahela, all talk no action!

Posted by ian_ghose on (December 14, 2011, 11:59 GMT)

So basically, more stodgy blocking from Thirimanne and Paranavitana...and later Mathews, and Sri Lanka will score at a rocket run-rate of 2 runs per over! Sri Lankan brand of cricket indeed.

Posted by Prema1948 on (December 14, 2011, 11:46 GMT)

These kinds of statements are made due to lack of self confidence. Whatever the brand of cricket one may play, the front-line Test batsmen should be able to play a risk-free innings at consistent basis. The ability to score a chance-less 50 almost always is the most important. You can't survive too long with reckless hitting against quality bowlers on a good track. Test cricket needs Dravid, Trott, Amla, Samaraweera like batsmen who've been very consistent batsmen from very young age.

Posted by HLANGL on (December 14, 2011, 11:06 GMT)

This is becoming ever more ridiculous & hilarious. The repetitive failures in the middle cannot be compensated with the articles to the media. First you must practice, then only you are eligible to preach. First you must accept that none of the current crop of SL players have the ability take control of at least 30-40% of the games they play, especially outside their familiar conditions. So try to work on developing that skill. Accepting that the issue exists would be the first step towards correcting it. Otherwise you'll pretend that there's no such issue at all & all the failures are mere hiccups, but it's not really the case.

Posted by Roar911 on (December 14, 2011, 9:55 GMT)

good thoughts, but why do our guys always play aggressive brand of t20 in test matches (scoring quick 150-200 in 1 session and get allout) and, leaving and defensing in odis??? all the bad sessions you mentioned above (eng,aus) are due to this kind of 'aggressive' strokeplay where you and the rest of the team have forgotten the value of nudging singles.... we are going against steyn n co. so since we dont have the luxury of the like of dilshan/arnold/mahanama in lower mid order, please bat responsibly and give bowlers something to defend. .... good luck to both teams

Posted by WeeBee on (December 14, 2011, 9:30 GMT)

You are quite right Mahela ! Srilankan batting were not upto the mark due to inconsistency. Everyone has seen that you have win the little portions of the game many times but could not win the bigger slices. I dont know whether you agree with me or not, but sometimes Srilankan captaincy really were below the bar. I am sorry to say, but its the fact that it really need improvement. Sanga is a world class batsman, you can never underestimate him. But on some critical points, He did collapse as well because of the presuure of being out, due to out of form of you (Mahela) and also Dilshan. I hope you gets fit soon and we could watch your classic Mahela touch batting. Best of Luck for! ......@Tissaparera .. If Mahela should not write here then you should not read here ... Mahela Keep writing ...

Posted by ChanaL on (December 14, 2011, 9:07 GMT)

Mahela is a very good cricketer & a writer. A couple of points to ponder. 1) Mahela needs to improve his away stats to show that he really is a great in SL cricket. His has scored about 29 centuries and if I am not mistaken about 5 away. If doesnt deliver when it matters away from home, he will also fall into Thilan's category. (A lion in SSC and .... away) 2)"put the ..... series behind us" is now becoming a very boring excuse. We have almost put/erased 1-2 years of SL test cricket history due to poor performance. (we have lost to all the countries that matter ENG/Aus/Pak/Ind.) and we seem to be ahead only to Zim, BD, & WI when it comes to test cricket. With that in mind I am not sure how he can write these articles with a straight face. I think all these so called senior players need to first win a couple of games and show their worth for the public else any we might as well put some young team and get the same results now but will have atleast some HOPE for the future.

Posted by Kavum on (December 14, 2011, 8:36 GMT)

Inane, boring platitudes - stating the screamingly obvious and trying to make it sound profound. Classy batsman with patchy form and a hopelessly poor writer (or ghost writer). The writing could do with a bit of dash, elan, flair and flamboyance (like SL's supposed cricketing style). Instead we get stodgy and safe guff like rice pudding or Chris Tavare's batting. The one recent time MJ came out with a personal viewpoint that seemed to be anything like an opinion, i.e.regarding potential scores in ODIs, post rule-changes, he was proved totally and crushingly wrong by Viru and his young cohorts. He appears to read the game as well as a certain US President read "My Pet Goat". Score lots of runs which you have been good at and let people who can, write. Best of luck against Steyn and the Protea lads - you will need it.

Posted by iphone1 on (December 14, 2011, 8:19 GMT)

SL batted really poor. This pep talk should be deserved for dressing room inspiration. Mahela saying that they were not beaten badly according to me is denial. Their batting has let them down terribly and their bowling is also very average. I'm sure they'll get walloped in South Africa. No disrespect to Sri Lanka fans, but if anything else happens I'll be happy.

Posted by TissaPerera on (December 14, 2011, 8:02 GMT)

Mahala, please stop concentrating on writing blogs and concentrate on your batting. We hear the same old record of saying you guys need to do this and that, but end of the day, we lost. what we saw was poor batting from all and poor bowling too. Other teams that beat us (England, Australia and Pakistan) all are in building phase same as us. But they played better than us. We cant just be aggressive and lose wickets. Need more gutsy attitude. You, Sanga and few others are tallented, but We still dont have people of mindset like Aravinda and Arjuna.

Posted by maxus on (December 14, 2011, 7:56 GMT)

The Underdog tags is a blessing in disguise to the Sri Lankans..No one expects them to perform well. True Sri Lankans perform in patches, they need to perform as a team both the batting and bowling unit. There are many match winners in the line up and it is a matter of just one innings to spark the old Sri Lankan team back. True, the bowling is thin, but this is the ideal situation for the bowlers to stand up show their presence felt..

Posted by   on (December 14, 2011, 7:50 GMT)

Mahela just shup up and bat, will you?

Posted by Nagu on (December 14, 2011, 7:34 GMT)

Keep watching this space for the lame excuses even after the mauling of Sri Lanka in the hands of SA, and ya even for the outbursts of Srilankan fans against India after their loss!!

Posted by Mark00 on (December 14, 2011, 7:32 GMT)

One thing that always surprised me about SL bats (their better players, at least) was that they played short balls much better than their subcontinental cousins in India and Pakistan. The pull and the hook seemed to come naturally to them. In fact, in that respect, I'd rate Aravinda De Silva as the best I've seen from his era from any side. However, I think they'll struggle against Philander. Many of their batsmen don't have tight and compact techniques and I don't doubt that players like Dilshan and Jayawardene will give the keeper and slips plenty of catching practice. Sangakarra is their best hope. He's not as gifted, perhaps, as Jayawardene but he's got enormous discipline.

Posted by VirajSam on (December 14, 2011, 7:14 GMT)

you express things very well here . good luck with tomorrows match .

Posted by longlivewoodoo on (December 14, 2011, 6:49 GMT)

You must have to bat like mahela brand. I strongly believe that give captaincy either to sanga or any youngster , with permanent fixture like angelo.

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Mahela JayawardeneClose
Mahela Jayawardene Elegant and prolific, Mahela Jayawardene is easily one of the best batsmen around. By a fair margin he is the highest run-getter for Sri Lanka, and on his way to becoming an all-time great. His excellent slip catching, and sharp captaincy - until early in 2009 - made him a big contributor to Sri Lanka's cause. He and Kumar Sangakkara hold the world record for the highest partnership in Tests, 624 for the third wicket, against South Africa in Colombo. Jayawardene is one of cricket's gentlemen: well-mannered, humble, intelligent and articulate.

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