Mahela Jayawardene reaches 10,000 ODI runs November 18, 2011

Elegance beyond numbers

Madhusudhan Ramakrishnan
Mahela Jayawardene, who reached the 10,000-run landmark in ODIs, may not have the best stats but his class and quality have been evident in big matches

Since the 1996 World Cup triumph, Sri Lanka have been one of the most consistent ODI teams reaching one World Cup semi-final and two more finals. They owe much of their success in the format to an array of outstanding fast-scoring batsmen starting with Aravinda de Silva and Sanath Jayasuriya. In the last decade, Sri Lanka's batting stats have been dominated by the classy Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene. Jayawardene, who today became the second Sri Lanka batsman after Jayasuriya and the ninth overall to cross 10,000 runs in ODIs, is also Sri Lanka's highest run-getter in Tests. After making his debut in 1998, Jayawardene has played much of his career in the middle order. Although he has continued to average in the mid thirties, a recent resurgence in form in the last two years has seen his average rise to around 45 since the beginning of 2010.

A comparison of the six Sri Lanka batsmen to cross 7000 runs is an interesting exercise. Jayasuriya and de Silva were extremely attacking players who came to the fore in the 1996 World Cup. Both of them scored their runs at a fast clip with Jayasuriya in particular boasting a strike rate in excess of 90. Marvan Atapattu, who opened the innings with Jayasuriya for much of his career, was the ideal foil to the aggressive left-hander. Atapattu, who has the second-highest average among the players in the 7000-run group, had a low strike rate of just over 67. Jayawardene and Sangakkara, who have been the core batsmen in the Sri Lankan line-up for the last six years, also have averages in a similar range with the former having a slightly higher strike rate.

Sri Lanka batsmen with 7000-plus runs in ODIs
Batsman Matches Runs Average SR 100/50
Sanath Jayasuriya* 445 13430 32.36 91.21 28/68
Mahela Jayawardene* 355 10004 33.45 77.66 15/61
Kumar Sangakkara* 303 9550 37.74 75.36 11/65
Aravinda de Silva 308 9284 34.90 81.13 11/64
Marvan Atapattu 268 8529 37.57 67.12 11/59
Arjuna Ranatunga 269 7456 35.84 77.91 4/49
* Includes ODIs when they didn't represent Sri Lanka

Jayawardene averages nearly 57 in the last two World Cups, but this masks the horror shows in the 1999 and 2003 tournaments. In those two World Cups, Jayawardene scored just 123 runs in 11 innings and hit rock bottom in the 2003 World Cup when he managed just 21 runs in seven innings. However, in the 2007 World Cup, he demonstrated excellent consistency and scored a brilliant match-winning century in the semi-final against New Zealand. In the 2011 tournament that was played in the subcontinent, Jayawardene produced a masterly display in the final against India but Sri Lanka were unable to defend a competitive score. Overall, in global tournaments, Jayawardene averages higher than he has in bilateral series. In the Australian tri series, he has been below par scoring just one century in 36 matches at an average under 34. On a whole though, his performances in tournament semi-finals and finals have generally been good with an average of 39.19 with two centuries and eight half-centuries.

Jayawardene's ODI stats by series
Type of series/tournament Matches Runs Average SR 100/50
Bilateral series 153 4035 31.77 75.18 6/22
Tri series (Australia) 36 1121 33.96 80.18 1/10
World Cup/Champions Trophy 51 1549 37.78 86.43 3/9
Asia Cup 20 468 31.20 86.66 0/5
Tournament finals/semi-finals 31 1019 39.19 83.31 2/8

Jayawardene, predominantly a middle-order batsman, has opened the innings ten times performing particularly well. As an opener, he has scored more than 600 runs at an average of 61.80 with three centuries. His strike rate of 93.49 is also well above his career mark of 77.68. In the early part of his career, he played in the lower middle order (No. 5-8) and struggled with his average hovering around the 25 mark. However, Jayawardene has proved to be most prolific at No.4. He has batted 178 times at No.4 scoring nearly 60% of his career runs at an average of 35.88 with seven centuries and 41 fifties.

Jayawardene's ODI record by batting position
Batting position Innings Runs Average SR 100/50
1-2 10 618 61.80 93.49 3/2
3 45 1373 35.20 80.15 3/6
4 178 5705 35.88 76.34 7/41
5 66 1584 26.40 74.78 1/9
6-8 34 724 23.34 79.03 0/0

Like most Sri Lanka batsmen, Jayawardene has found the going tough in matches played outside home. While he averages just 31.80 in ODIs in Australia, his struggles have been exemplified in South Africa and New Zealand where he has averaged 21.52 and 17.45 respectively. He has done well in India and Sri Lanka scoring seven of his 15 centuries in the two countries. Surprisingly, Jayawardene has found the going tough in Bangladesh and Zimbabwe too averaging just 31.40 and 18.08. However, he has tasted success in matches in England where he averages 43.80 with three centuries.

Jayawardene's record in various countries (other than Bangladesh and Zimbabwe)
Host country Matches Runs Average SR 100/50
Australia 39 1145 31.80 79.34 1/10
England 23 920 43.80 84.09 3/3
India 29 1049 38.85 83.32 3/4
New Zealand 15 192 17.45 57.14 0/0
Pakistan 16 384 25.60 79.33 0/2
South Africa 27 495 21.52 72.05 0/4
Sri Lanka 119 3229 35.48 76.04 4/22
UAE 31 1089 38.89 79.72 2/6
West Indies 17 661 47.21 80.90 1/5

Although Jayawardene is one of only nine batsmen to amass 10,000 runs in ODIs, his average is not on par with most others in the group. Sachin Tendulkar, who is far ahead of all batsmen in terms of runs and centuries, has an even distribution of centuries and a comparable average home and away. Ricky Ponting, the second-highest run-getter, has an excellent average of 44.13 in away games. Inzamam-ul-Haq's home and away numbers indicate a very large disparity. While he averages 56.80 at home, he has managed only 36.86 in away matches. His centuries-to-fifties ratio is also very low (10:83) as compared to most others in the group. Jayawardene, in contrast to the others, averages just over 35 in home matches and 32.64 in away matches. His strike rate at No.4 (76.34) is marginally better than the overall strike rate for that position in ODIs since 2000 (75.41).

* Away stats include matches played in neutral venues

Batting stats for batsmen with 10,000 runs in ODIs*
Batsman Matches/Runs (home) Avg/SR (home) 100/50 (home) Matches/Runs (a/n) Avg/SR (a/n) 100/50 (a/n)
Sachin Tendulkar 164/6976 48.11/88.40 20/38 289/11135 43.49/85.07 28/57
Ricky Ponting 148/5388 40.51/79.86 13/32 222/8298 44.13/81.08 17/50
Sanath Jayasuriya 128/3880 33.73/88.95 7/24 317/9550 31.83/92.17 21/44
Inzamam-ul-Haq 75/2674 56.89/80.76 4/17 303/9065 36.26/72.51 6/66
Jacques Kallis 136/4993 47.55/74.93 6/38 181/6379 43.99/71.35 11/46
Sourav Ganguly 78/3110 44.42/77.45 4/24 233/8253 39.86/72.38 18/48
Rahul Dravid 97/3406 43.11/78.53 6/24 247/7483 37.60/68.35 6/59
Brian Lara 91/3224 44.16/79.05 6/20 208/7181 39.02/79.71 13/43
Mahela Jayawardene 119/3229 35.48/76.04 4/22 236/6775 32.57/78.45 11/39

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Manesh on November 21, 2011, 4:12 GMT

    He need rest. He is the run machine for Lanka over the years . Because of less quality players in the side, he and Sanga did lot of hard work.

  • Shakti on November 20, 2011, 13:50 GMT

    How is it that Sri Lanka is the only test team that does not tour properly?And Jayawardene has played 5 tests in S.A and a few were on our slower pitches in S.A n Ntini exposed Jayawardene's weakness against short pitch bowling & Ntini wsnt even very good.Jayawardene only manages to maintain that average because he does not tour like the other players around the world.That is why the English,Australians & South Africans regard Sri Lankan cricketers a joke.

  • funkycrispy on November 20, 2011, 7:44 GMT

    @SSDUK ....I thot Sinhababu's camparison is crazy, now u beat him hands down....Do you seriously think those opportunities. are not enuf. for him? And here we are talking about % of 100 and 50 scores in opporutniities given and it is not absolute comparions...And you are mentioning about one days records,....did u ever try to look at Sachin's away one day records????

  • tushar on November 20, 2011, 6:27 GMT

    an average of less than 35!!!and hes one of the "best batsmen" - what a joke.. even if someone like dilshan plays 400 odis hell score 10k but an average is what no he is NOT one of the best batsmen..period

  • Dummy4 on November 19, 2011, 20:09 GMT

    Sublime and treat for the eye while inform....But its a very rare and an uncommon occurance...For that reason I am saddened and agree that he does not belong to the top.....

  • Biju on November 19, 2011, 20:09 GMT

    Getting 10K is a fantastic achievement by any standards and this will remain for ever. Congratulations for that !!!! He remains one of the best for SRILANKA.

    But comparing with Sachin in ODI is nothing short of blasphemy..

    When he bats he makes batting looks very easy and smooth which actually masks his failures in countless innings. Very very inconsistent.. He has been able to hold on so long only because Srilanka has not been able to produce a good batsman after Sanga ...say entire 2000`s and continuing..Mahela will continue to play another 5-6 yrs because srilanka does`nt look to produce any batman in near future....

  • Dummy4 on November 19, 2011, 16:44 GMT

    mahela is a topclass player,i just love to see him caress the ball between point to extra cover region,and those occasional chip over the infield............still he can't be compared to ponting,lara,kallis or tendulkar but way better than inzamam and definitely one of the best batsman of this era..

  • Dummy4 on November 19, 2011, 15:29 GMT

    Mehela is a great player, and certainly one of Sri Lanka's best ever. Not being one of the 10 best ODI players of all time does not take away from that.

  • suranja on November 19, 2011, 15:15 GMT

    S.Jagernath tell me How many matches Sachin played away ?? During Jayawardena's 14 years carrer he has tourd 1 time to SA, 2 times in Australia, one in WI and 3 times in England. Do you this it is enough for a player to perform well ??? So look at his 15 ODI undreds.....11 played away and 40 half centuries.....??????

  • Shakti on November 19, 2011, 14:24 GMT

    @Sinabahu.What would we say abt Sachin Tendulkar?that he is very competent in all conditions?Sachin Tendulkar has 29 test centuries away from home alone.Have a look at Jayawardene away record,it is not even average.He has just 9 out of 29 centuries away from Sri Lanka,and 10 of the 20 at home is just at the SSC.Forget comparing him to Tendulkar,there is just no comparison!

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