Pakistan v Sri Lanka 2013-14

Mahela under the microscope after horror Test

Twin failures in the Abu Dhabi Test left Mahela Jayawardene without a half-century in his last 14 innings. At 36, he finds his place in Sri Lanka's team under question for the first time

Andrew Fidel Fernando

January 6, 2014

Comments: 93 | Text size: A | A

Mahela Jayawardene plays a delivery uncomfortably, Australia v Sri Lanka, 3rd Test, Sydney, 3rd day, January 5, 2013
Mahela Jayawardene has fought his way out of adversity before, but this is perhaps the first time his place in the side has come under question © Getty Images
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Layoff not behind Abu Dhabi failures - Mahela

  • Mahela Jayawardene had not played a Test in almost a year and had only played two List A matches in the five weeks leading up to the first Test, but said lack of preparation was not necessarily to blame for his failure. "Difficult to say that the long break had a big effect. I trained hard but in a Test match you can have a great match or a poor one. It's difficult to pinpoint why exactly things didn't go right. I got two good balls and I couldn't avoid getting out to them. I prepared well for that match and I'm preparing for the next one."
  • On Bilawal Bhatti, who dismissed him in both innings: "He's a new bowler, so I hadn't played against him before. My team-mates had told me that he bowled well in the ODI series as well. When you face a bowler for the first time there is always a small challenge. He bowled in really good areas when I went to bat, so that's also a factor. I had watched how Bhatti bowls, but watching him and playing him are very different things."
  • On what remains for him to achieve in Tests: "This year there are only five or six Tests remaining. I have short term goals about how I should play and how I can contribute to the team. When you get to this stage in your career, it's not easy to have long-term targets."

Out three times off the last three balls he has faced, all to a 22-year-old on debut. It can't feel great to be Mahela Jayawardene right now. Given he became a father only a month ago, perhaps there is only so low Jayawardene can feel. To his credit, cricket has never consumed him to the extent it defines so many other players. But it is the kind of Test match a 36-year-old really does not want to have, not even if he owns more than 10,000 runs and 30 hundreds, not even if he has been a no-brainer choice in every Sri Lanka side for 15 years.

That he let Misbah-ul-Haq's paddle sweep slip through his fingers after having anticipated the shot in the first innings will only strengthen whispers that Jayawardene's mind remains sharp but his reflexes and hand-eye coordination are beginning to wane. After all, besides the wristy flicks and slow-motion drives, Jayawardene has also taken more international catches than any other fielder. If he takes 17 more in Tests, he will surpass Rahul Dravid's record in the format.

If it seems ludicrous to even consider dropping Jayawardene, that's because it is. Detractors point to an average of 22.27 in his last nine away Tests, stretching back to May 2011, but omit the vital innings he has played at home since. Jayawardene's record outside Asia is famously poor, but he has played in 53 of Sri Lanka's 66 Test victories - second only to Muttiah Muralitharan who played in 54. It would also be a mistake to assume runs in Sri Lanka means runs on flat pitches. Galle is as stern a Test of batting technique as the Gabba or Headingley. Of Jayawardene's record 2698 runs at the Sinhalese Sports Club, over half have been in wins and just over 8% in losses.

Yet, there is significant stress on Jayawardene as he seeks to contribute in the remaining matches. Forces within the team's governing body have gathered against him for some time, and while chief selector Sanath Jayasuriya has been immune to such pressures in his 11 months in office, he will find Jayawardene's inclusion harder to justify if the batsman has a poor series.

The young players' rich returns in the first Test also tighten the tourniquet on Jayawardene. He was the only batsman in the top seven not to get a start in either innings, and if the likes of Angelo Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal sustain success on their own, the inspiration and encouragement of an older man at the other end becomes less necessary. Nothing makes a senior player seem beyond his best like younger, less-decorated batsmen enhancing the magnitude of his failure.

Adversity has coaxed the best from Jayawardene before, even if he has rarely faced the sort that challenged his future in the side. He is by some distance the lead contributor to the Sri Lankan subset of great Test innings. His 119 at Lord's in 2006 reeled the team out of an almighty whirlpool after they had surrendered a 359-run deficit in the first innings. His 374 against South Africa in a winning cause later in the year speaks for itself, but the 123 in the next Test of the series is vastly underrated, having come in Sri Lanka's highest successful chase - a match in which no other batsman scored a century.

More recently, he made 180 in Galle to help topple the then No.1 England team, in a Sri Lankan innings in which no one else managed more than 27. A few months earlier, against Australia at the same venue, he had scored 105 on a dusty, broken, fright of a pitch. It is often said of good innings that the batsman appears to have played on a different surface from the one his team-mates have encountered, but in full flow, Jayawardene's wrists and blade are governed by an altogether alien set of physical laws.

So perhaps it is unfair to compare Jayawardene's six months and 14 international innings without a half-century with Kumar Sangakkara's enduring - even improving - consistency. You don't rate Hendrix on his prowess with the French horn, nor a Tarantino film on its realism. Opinions vary wildly on whether Jayawardene is a great player, but as has been written about Kevin Pietersen, there is no doubt he is a player of extraordinary innings.

For the remainder of the series at the very least, Jayawardene's place will be rightly unquestioned. Not only will Angelo Mathews resist making such a bold call on his first full overseas tour as captain, he will also likely balk at the thought of spurning a mentor that way. But cricket's most exquisite surviving stylist and one of Sri Lanka's finest match-winners does not deserve to have his twilight marred by talk of decline, and two good Tests will ensure Jayawardene does not suffer that indignity.

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

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by android_user on (January 11, 2014, 18:10 GMT)

ahem ahem...... I hope his century has answered most of the question raised here....

Posted by dadli1ikz on (January 9, 2014, 4:20 GMT)

As a young boy growing up and watching cricket, i have lots of favorite players. And of all the players, I have never seen a batsman time the cover drive so well you'd want to watch it over and over on replay. I can only think of Mahela and Mike Hussy. Yes people are starting to question MJ's place in the team, and rightly so but if they wanted him out they should done it long time ago especially with an away average he has. I think MJ has alot of cricket still left in him and frankly I don't think any of the current young SL players will even get to 10000 test runs... so the best they can do now is learn from guys like MJ, Sanga, Dilshan etc...

Posted by FAIZALMEEDIN on (January 8, 2014, 12:35 GMT)

Just to remind Mr Ranil Fernando who does not consider Sanath Jayasuriya as a good Test Player that Srilanka scored 900 + runs in an innings in a Test Match Against India at the R Premadasa Stadium out of which 300+ was scored by SJ himself and almost broke Brian Lara's record and ofcourse Mahela too contributed with a half century.

Posted by   on (January 8, 2014, 3:08 GMT)

Mahela is great batsman when he is on song. Yest it is true he is not capable of handling on bouncy tracks like in England, Australia. one reason might be his stance for facing the ball which is well suited for flat pithches in Asian continent. Other one reason would be his over concentration and nervous at the begining of his inning. He plays really well facing the blade in front and technically sound, no doubt of it, but he is a batsman of having lot of shots by the nudging and reflecting to the corners thats too work well in asian flat pitches. when it comes to bouncy tracks, he coudnt do oftnely as he is doing in subcontinent. Sangakkara is a player who adopted these changes well according tothese conditions and thats why he is more consistant even on the bouncy tracks compared to Mahela.

Posted by   on (January 7, 2014, 19:02 GMT)

Mahela will get his chance. The Tigers are due to visit the Islands soon and he should take this opportunity to boost his average. Mahela is a class act. Sri Lankan cricket will not be the same without him.

Posted by   on (January 7, 2014, 5:39 GMT)

@John_Geo sorry to interfere but without looking in the cricinfo archives I could assure you that SL won that match gainst SA. For great moments of Mahela's career, 2007 world cup semi, 2011 world cup final centuries comes to the mind in a flash. Once had the Fastet half century by a sri lankan in t20. He also played a great hand in one of the better English tours Sri Lanka had drawing test series 1-1 and if my memory serves right 5-0 win in the ODI's. Yes he is not in greatest of touch and maybe he is hitting the end of his career but he has given us some fond memories as a player and definietly as a captain.

Posted by rohan024 on (January 7, 2014, 5:23 GMT)

Its a bit of shame to compare Jayawardene with Kevin Pietersen. MJ a good player is no match for KP, who has scored runs both home and away. MJ doesn't even average 35 in any one of Eng/Sa/Aus/NZ/UAE.

Posted by   on (January 7, 2014, 4:05 GMT)

How come these people talk such horribly about a player like Mahela? I wonder how they jump into conclusions and pass judgments on such a player by looking at a few innings he has played in the recent past. Are we to forget all the great innings he has played and the marvelous captaincy he provided to SL over the years? I remember Jacques Kallis getting out for ducks in both innings against SL very recently which, according to these pundits, is enough proof that he is a total failure as a batsman, despite the great record behind him. Wonderful, indeed.

Posted by   on (January 7, 2014, 3:10 GMT)

The article is fine with the stats ..... everyone is talking about young players of SL. Who played better in recent past? Forget that Mathews, Chandimal, Ashan and Kaushal in an inninng. That's all in that test and even Sanga scored just a mere 50. Find a better replacement as No. 4 and then talk about replacing Mahela. What is this Sri Lankan flat tracks? Why South African batsmen fail here? Why Australian batsmen fail here? @ Eranga Abeygunawardana - Who compares Mahela with Jayasuriya? Totally different players and I don't consider Jayasuriya as a good Test player. We are talking about Test cricket here not ODI. Let Mahela prove what he can in next 2 matches and then we'll have a discussion.

Posted by SriLankanYoungBlood on (January 7, 2014, 0:54 GMT)

Mahela has been over hyped batsmen by media and fans. Even he is not in the 10 best batsmens even 50 SL produce. His whole carrier has inconsistent his most of the runs scored in SSC and Galle. His entire career he took runs only for him not so he could get decent average. But no danger for his position until his earlier caption current chief selector SJ in the seat. He could play up to 40 whether he performed or not.

Posted by 3rd_man on (January 6, 2014, 20:10 GMT)

Its funny only to see 4, 5 performances to talk about of a guy scored more than 10000 runs. I mean that's really all. MJ is very good at home but very very poor playing away. look at his stats past 3 - 4 years. how many centuries has he scored out side SL? normally he fails overseas and recover well at home tests. that s how he fool selectors. but if you check his stats he is below par to categorize among other grates who crossed 10000 mark. stats are there, but I am not sure selectors reading to them much if not M.J shouldn't have part of this team.

Posted by Cricket_gods_of_Nalanda on (January 6, 2014, 17:48 GMT)

@John_Geo - I don't know which planet you were in last decade or so. Mahela has not only been a great batsmen but a leader as well. There is reason why we have 'cricketing pandiths' as they have played the game in highest level and read the game better than armchair critics like you.

Posted by Agnar on (January 6, 2014, 17:37 GMT)

Lakmal and Eranga are not impressed by Mahela's performance.

Posted by Agnar on (January 6, 2014, 17:33 GMT)

If he does not score at an average of at the least in Test 2 and 3, Mahela should retire from test cricket and focus on one day cricket on a [probationary basis. I think he can still help us win next WC. But at this point in career, he should not be given extended chances, in any format, to recover from a "slump" at the expense of younger players.

Posted by CricketChat on (January 6, 2014, 17:19 GMT)

MJ is one of my favorite batsmen of all time. When on song, I place him alongside any other modern greats like, Sachin, Lara, Ponting, Hayden, Jayasuria and many such others shot for shot. However, it is clear in the last 1-2 years, his performances have dropped a tad below his best years and seeing him struggle continually against mediocre bowling attacks makes me believe he is coming to the end of his playing career. I hope he retires on a high with a 100 like Kallis did recently against Ind in this series with Pak from all forms of cricket and get into coaching.

Posted by Nmiduna on (January 6, 2014, 16:19 GMT)

i didn't like the title much, mostly coz i adore mahela too much. but this is such a beautifully balanced article!

Posted by John_Geo on (January 6, 2014, 16:13 GMT)

Let there be no mistake. Mahela is way beyond his "use by" date. The problem Mahela has is that he thinks he is a cricketing pandith who is far superior to others. The sad fact is that he is ludicrously unreliable extremely over-rated (thanks to the other cricketing pandiths). At present, he is nothing but a walking wicket that bowlers fight to ball at.

In retrospect, the careers of SL players such as Sanath, Aravinda, Roy, Sidath, Mendis, Murali, Vas all had many pleasant cricketing moments that comes to the mind to even the most ignorant of Sri Lankan cricket fans. sadly, Mahela has hardly any we can recollect with contentment (exception- the partnership against SA but it was a draw). He has always failed at critical junctures leaving SL fans in total frustration. Mahela is in the team as a batsman and when he fails to score, it is a total waste of a position. Mahela, please announce your retirement from all three formats. The more you play the more you add to the agony of SL fans.

Posted by Leggie on (January 6, 2014, 16:09 GMT)

For quite sometime, I have also been equally guilty of analyzing every subcontinent batsman's record outside the subcontinent. But then, I do not see anyone from SA or Australia or England look at their batsman's record outside of their homes and dissect the batsman's capability outside their "home" conditions!!! So my 2 cents to subcontinent fans.... Please stop reading too much into your favorite batsman's record in home and away conditions. Scoring runs in alien conditions is possibly something nice to talk about, but runs scored under home conditions are no less. After all its the same pitch for both the teams, and a good batsman in that condition scores well. Mahela Jayawardene has more than a decent record and for what he has achieved for SL cricket, let him decide when he should retire.

Posted by   on (January 6, 2014, 15:25 GMT)

Mahela is an Average batsman Sri Lanka ha produced.In ODI matches, when compare to Jayasuriya, jayasuriya has scored 28 Centuries but Mahela Only 16.

Jayasuriya has won 11 Player of the SERIES Awards. But Mahela just 4. Jayasuriya Has won 48 Man of the Player Awards.But Mahela only 19.

Posted by SLMaster on (January 6, 2014, 15:23 GMT)

Mahela is good, but, not to fans liking. However, he is one of the best batsmen and should perform to his best. It is easy say drop him not thinking about the replacement.

Posted by Lion83 on (January 6, 2014, 15:21 GMT)

Dhoni's overseas record is worse than Aswins record. He does well in subcontinent wickets like most of the indian batsmen like Raina, Dawan. Yuvaraj. He should be drop from indian test team now.

Posted by Lion83 on (January 6, 2014, 15:18 GMT)

Mahela should retire from test cricket. This is the best time to do it because SL will tour ENG in the summer. He should continue to play T20 & ODI.

Posted by ANI_CRIC_FUNDA on (January 6, 2014, 15:10 GMT)

It took decade(s) to find another gavaskar, dravid, kallis, jayasuriya, ponting, sanga, mahela & probably century for Bradman & Sachin.. so let the greats take their decision on their won in their own terms. their contributions for their respective countries & world cricket remain immense.

Alastair Cook - the rate ENG play Test Matches 12-14 tests per year, less than 8 years(since his debut on 1st March 2006) he has already played 103 tests i.e. 13 tests/year on avg.. next july onwards, they will play 5 tests against INDIA. so even in this poor form, he will get the ideal team to get back form i.e. INDIA. even with his current career avg of 46-47 in next 8 years another around 100 tests if stays fit throughout will get another around 180 innings (say 8-10 not outs) will get to sachin's total of close to 16000 test runs in 200+ tests with around 50+ 100s may be(assuming).. so it will take cook only 16 years to get past 200 tests & close to 16000 test runs & 50 100s while Sachin took 24

Posted by dabbadubba on (January 6, 2014, 15:09 GMT)

mahela will do good when the cricket shifts back to colombo.. until then please have patience with him.. he is world class while playing colombo.

Posted by   on (January 6, 2014, 14:56 GMT)

Not even worth the head-scratch, IMO. Lean trot, no more. Mahela should be one of the first names on the team sheet for another two seasons. All class and still plenty left to give.

Posted by yorkslanka on (January 6, 2014, 14:36 GMT)

@ vkohli- we both know the answer to your question is none , surely you don't need reminding that the (very good) average of one class player is not enough to sway the team result. No one denied that tests are our weakest form of cricket, my post merely pointed out that Mahela is world class..yes he is in poor form but that will change...

Posted by KingOwl on (January 6, 2014, 14:26 GMT)

Mahela has never been great, especially at the beginning of innings, against swing bowlers. Also, he has in general been much better at playing spin. He is no doubt getting on in terms of years. It is absolutely time to question his place in the team. I think he still can be a match winner in T20s and One dayers, under any conditions. But in tests, he seems to perform only when the conditions/opposition suits him. Once you reach that age, nobody should be immune from having to justify their place, especially when young ones are waiting to gain experience. But of course, Mahela has done a lot for SL cricket. So, hopefully, whatever change will happen in a respectable manner.

Posted by VKohlitheGreat on (January 6, 2014, 12:59 GMT)

@ yorkslanka : Although its not clear in ur comment but i guess u meant to say, Mahela Jayawardene averages more than 62 in India. If that is true, it is a good record I must say and for a average like that he must have produced a few outstanding innings which would have helped his team win I am sure. I would like to know how many tests SL won in India when he was part of the team.

Posted by   on (January 6, 2014, 12:40 GMT)

It will be better if he concentrates on some formats of the game,, like leaving T20s and concentrate on ODI and Tests,, also not playing un important games will help him to retain his fitness. He and Sanga needs to think about future now,, if they want to play 2015 WC. Best decision was taken by Dilshan,,, I think SL Cricket Mgt needs to plan out their succsssion and retirements,,, Or else it will be like retiring forcefully after disaster series like VVS and Rahul,,,

Posted by   on (January 6, 2014, 12:24 GMT)

Mahela does well with Dilshan when they open. I think he needs a role change and he needs to retire from test cricket.

Posted by   on (January 6, 2014, 12:03 GMT)

Media and Fans are pretty fickle. Mahela is one of the best batmen ever to play for Sri Lanka and still one of the best in the world. He has failed a couple of times since he took a break. Please. He earned the right to fail a lot more times before people have the right to call for his head. Remember Dravid's woeful season?

Posted by android_user on (January 6, 2014, 11:38 GMT)

i think mahela should retaird from test cricket. he is good when no pressure. he is a good opener for both odi snd t20s. i dont think he has good defence against fast bowlers. when he in attacking mode, his fine.

Posted by ARJUN217 on (January 6, 2014, 11:30 GMT)

@Blade-Runner ha ha not outs huh? he scorers runs wer ever he plays. a player who took the team frm 29/5 to 225 and 75/5 to 300 is mediocre for u ha ha ha. he was the odi player of the year 3 times. Hes a wkt keeper-captain . Theres reason y he is in the icc odi team and icc test team ahead of prior...i dont've ask u how good hes. Mahela averags 32 in odi is that legendery for u bro.people who think test cricket is the ultimate i dont think so odi is the real deal.

Posted by its.rachit on (January 6, 2014, 11:26 GMT)

@blade runner - we know what happened in Australia to you ... 3-0 ... and what happens everytime you some to India ... 2-0 3-0 ... and what happens when australia visits SL 3-0 2-0 ... HaHaha ... atleast we win at home ... you cant even do that ...

Posted by yorkslanka on (January 6, 2014, 11:25 GMT)

@yousefahmed- true, but you forgot to mention that he also has his highest away test average against the top teams of 62.80 against india in india which is higher than his test average of 61.12 at home.....#owned...

Posted by VKohlitheGreat on (January 6, 2014, 11:06 GMT)

@ Blade-Runner : His number of not outs also means that when he comes at the crease, he takes the team across the finish line and manages to remain unbeaten and that my dear friend is why he is the called the best finisher. I see you are quite good at stats, would you please bifurcate the average, home and away, for Mahela Jayawardene too?

Posted by Blade-Runner on (January 6, 2014, 11:05 GMT)

@VKohlitheGreat ; We know what happened in South Africa. lol 2-0, 1-0. before that in England- 4-0 , 3-0. The list goes on and on and onnn...lol

Posted by   on (January 6, 2014, 11:05 GMT)

It is clearly to early to think about dropping Mahela. He has been out of top flight international cricket few months. Due to many reasons like SLC canceling tests, tours being cancelled and for personal reasons. He is gonna need some time to settle back in. I know the young boys have done fairly well. Even Prasanna have had great practice playing cricket in ENG. Sanga and Mahela both does not look at thier best right now. (Although Sanga scored that important half century it is so unlike him to give it up in a situation like that) If Mahela fails for the rest of the series a decision can be discussed. Still he is one of the most valuable players for us in the ODI and T20 side. So whatever happens in the future, it has to be managed carefully. I seriously doubt it though with the things going around in SLC.

Posted by Yousufahmed1 on (January 6, 2014, 11:02 GMT)

His test averages in SA-27.87, NZ-27.71, aus-31.42, England-34.11, Bangladesh-38.12, UAE-13.37. If this is a legend and ambassador of the game in SL, whose fans call other cricketers flat track bullies than.....

Posted by Yousufahmed1 on (January 6, 2014, 11:00 GMT)

Definition of LEGEND in Sri Lanka. Any batsman who has an average of 30 is

a Legend of the game. LOL. Going by that definition every team in the world even ZIm

and BAN has at least 5-6 LEGENDS in their team and top teams are carrying 8 LEGENDS

every time they take the field. LOL.

Posted by   on (January 6, 2014, 10:58 GMT)

This will be the end result for all top test players for not playing Test Cricket at regular basis. If SLC continues to scrap test ahead of T20, then we can expect the worse to come .Do not blame players for wrong systems in SLC.

Posted by ClaudiaSL on (January 6, 2014, 10:49 GMT)

Mahela's test average is around 50, ODI average is 33, T20 average is 32!

Posted by Srini_Indian on (January 6, 2014, 10:43 GMT)

Mahela is a very elegant batsman. I wish him well. However, even after playing tons of cricket in SSC, Kandy and Galle which are renowned to be the flattest tracks of the world, his test average is <50 and an ODI average of 33 which is still 3 runs lower than Suresh Raina. His test averages in SA-27.87, NZ-27.71, aus-31.42, England-34.11, Bangladesh-38.12, UAE-13.37. #legend by SL standards.

Posted by   on (January 6, 2014, 10:32 GMT)

Who is complaining about an away average of 40?

Posted by VKohlitheGreat on (January 6, 2014, 10:27 GMT)

So much noise about India being home track bullies by SL fans, I did some stat research and I found the below stats between Ind-SL for tests: In Ind : [Ind 10] [SL 0] [Draw 7] (8 of 10 of those wins by an innings) In SL : [Ind 4] [SL 6] [Draw 8] I was surprised that SL for their history of more than 30 years is yet to win a test in their neighbourhood whilst India has done well in SL.

Posted by Blade-Runner on (January 6, 2014, 10:16 GMT)

@ARJUN217 ; His test avg is not 40. Its 38.76 (Away -32.70). ODI avg is 50+ because of the no. of not-outs, 62 times. He comes at no.6 or 7 and manages to stay unbeaten. So what is so special about those stats. They look pretty average and mediocre, if you ask me.

Posted by PadMarley on (January 6, 2014, 10:08 GMT)

I had a look at some statistics of the 8 Sri Lankan batsmen who have scored more than 5000 test career runs. Mahela has the biggest difference between 'home minus away' career average [21.77] and next is Aravinda with 16.16. The two most indifferent batsmen between away and home were Atapattu [-0.9] and Dilshan [2.46]. Atapattu is the only guy who has batted away better than home. Sanga is leading the best away average with 47.30, followed by Samaraweera at 43.31 and Atapattu with 39.61. Mahela still has a better home and an away records than Aravinda on average. 39.95 away average of Mahela is a good number but not brilliant, its just that he as an awesome 61.12 home average. Sanga has the best home as well as away averages out of all, and that makes me conclude him as a best test batsman Sri Lanka has produced so far!!

Posted by NEIL_GD_S10 on (January 6, 2014, 10:07 GMT)

Mahela Jayawardene is the best player right now, coz age is not overtaking is just matter of time, whenever we watch SL batting love to see Sanga & Mahela playing coz they are the one who plays all shots of the book and some extra ordinary as well.

Posted by madras_boy on (January 6, 2014, 10:05 GMT)

DPMDJ is always a treat to watch whenever he plays. He is like the Rahul Dravid of India whom one can depend on. I hope to see him play until the next world cup. He definitely deserves to play in the team.

Posted by   on (January 6, 2014, 9:38 GMT)

some people are saying dont criticize or judge due to one match, they should know he is declining since 2011. He just averaged 24 in 2011, 34 in 2012. His number away from home are poor, plus his average against Pakistan in 25 tests is just 29. He look stylish has alot of runs, but he can only score in Sri Lanka , India or BD.

Posted by ARJUN217 on (January 6, 2014, 9:26 GMT)

@Tal_Botvinnik A player who averages 53 in odi, 40 in tests, 32 in t20 is a fluke according to u? get a life bro. Cric info plz publish.

Posted by   on (January 6, 2014, 9:22 GMT)

What ever Mahela has done belongs to the past.for the period of last two years he has been totaly inconsitant. Only reason he to be in the team is his past performance.If you should give Mahela a place in the team becuase of his past performance it's worth to give a Chance to ARAVINDA also in the team...

Posted by pradeepKSL on (January 6, 2014, 9:17 GMT)

every player has his up's & down...we sure mahela will come up with critics with a bang...bcoz even b4 he overcame these kind of situations...lets not bother abt resting him..SL teams is doin well as well as Pak...it was very nice to see chandi and angi handle the pressure...hope mahela do well in 2nd test...lets hope for da best...wish u best of luck guys...do well....

Posted by JamesSmithee on (January 6, 2014, 8:57 GMT)

Mahela is no where near best batmen in SL. Look at his poor records

in Australia 31.42 in Bangladesh 38.12 in England 34.11 in India 62.80 in New Zealand 27.71 in Pakistan 42.75 in South Africa 27.87 in Sri Lanka 61.12 in U.A.E. 13.37 in West Indies 42.00 in Zimbabwe 63.25

Posted by   on (January 6, 2014, 8:49 GMT)

One of the players whose average @ Home is almost double to his away average ( 60 @ home, 35 away)

Posted by MEHATELK on (January 6, 2014, 8:32 GMT)

@Asitha Samarakoon ill tell you one stats , within last 10 yrs india had won 18( 6against bang and 2 against zim) test away from the home , it is only second to auses in terms of number of wins, but srilanka only won 11 out of that 4 against bang and 2 against zim, if you omit bangladesh and zimbawe india had 10 wins but lanka only managed 5, but India played 53 matches Srilanka only done 38, india lost 19 and srilanka lost 18, W/L ratio india 0.52 and srilanka 0.277( after omitting ban and zim) if you take limited over cricket india had won lot of trophies out side india within same time period.

Posted by   on (January 6, 2014, 8:16 GMT)

Who will replace him??? It is not as if Sri Lanka's batting talent is overflowing with talent ( as it earlier used to).

Posted by Nali_live on (January 6, 2014, 8:01 GMT)

A great cricketer and great ambassador of Sri Lankan cricket

Posted by RMCroos on (January 6, 2014, 7:50 GMT)

Well Mahela is the best batsman in srilankan side he will do well all srilankan cricket fans behind him he is our super star !!!!!

Posted by   on (January 6, 2014, 7:47 GMT)

Three balls three wickets to 22 year old kid & some srilankan fans defending mahela lolzz. Time for mahela to sy bubyee score some 50 plus ( which seems unlikely) n exit.

Posted by Messa1 on (January 6, 2014, 7:44 GMT)

yep it's time Mahela to retire from test cricket(ONLY). Need him in ODI's and T20's. We have 2 seniors in the test side(Sanga and Prasanna) who are in good form and that's enough. Get a young player in, Kithruwan or bring back Ashan Priyanjan to replace Mahela's position.

Posted by yorkslanka on (January 6, 2014, 7:34 GMT)

Class is class and Mahela will come good this next test..I do think that he should bat at six however, not because of his form, just because that way we have one senior player with each of the top three batsmen. Experience counts for a lot when a team is in trouble.good luck to both teams but hoping for a SL win.

Posted by Tal_Botvinnik on (January 6, 2014, 7:26 GMT)

Kusal's inclusion might put the pressure on dimuth, kaushal,prasanna,mahela given his form in the recent t20s and ODIs. But i beleive mahela need to play for he needs to guide mathews a bit more.

@VKohliTheGreat:Look according to indians MS Dhoni is a legend. He specializes only in ODI and too in indian conditions, He fails miserably everywhere. His captaincy record is build on pitch conditions, good players, luck (eg: Ian bell in the CT Final, Misbhah's scoop shot). ANd yet A Player who has a avg of 49 in test, 31 in t20s is fluke according to them. LOL Get a rest.

Posted by Nuwas on (January 6, 2014, 7:24 GMT)

@ Asitha Samarakoon: agreed bro. some fellows who comment here thinks as if they were Professional Commentators, but they just make senseless or detestable comments which demonstrate the true nature of them. Both MJ & Sanga should go on playing for the next two years for sure while making some replacements ( there won't be full replacements for none of them, but the time will develop newcomers) for them & the board should consider a rotation policy for MJ & Sanga.

@ ANI_CRIC_FUNDA: Those awesome stats would definitely answer some pointless critics. Thanks for sharing.

Posted by   on (January 6, 2014, 7:17 GMT)

no doubt about that he is a classy player.I think it is better to give him a rest to be with his family and he will be comeback with great mind set.

Posted by VKohlitheGreat on (January 6, 2014, 7:15 GMT)

@ Asitha Samarakoon : I am not sure if I agree with your line 'india is the poorest performers at away home' since India has beaten SL (4-1) at home. Yes, ofcourse I am talking about ODIs here since Tests for the flat tracks they have in SL can never fetch results as we have teams like BD scoring runs in excess of 600 with 2 players scoring 200s and another scoring 100 in the same innings.

Posted by   on (January 6, 2014, 7:12 GMT)

I have always been a great fan of Sri Lankan cricket and Mahela has for a long time been my favourite batsman. I have huge respect and admiration for Sanga, but Mahela is the more attractive player. A good player is mostly judged on consistency and that is where he falls short. I hope that he gets the opportunity to set things right and follows his mate's example of ever improving.

Posted by KarachiKid on (January 6, 2014, 7:03 GMT)

A great cricketer and great ambassador of Sri Lankan cricket. Most of Pakistanis love him for his class as well as the way he carries himself.

Posted by vswami on (January 6, 2014, 7:03 GMT)

"Galle is as stern a Test of batting technique as the Gabba or Headingley". Test of what, may I ask ?

Posted by ajithabey on (January 6, 2014, 7:03 GMT)

How can you even think of having Mahela under the microscope for one failure that many great players have gone through at some stage in their careers. The selectors must be nuts to even think of it. Let's play the same team probably with one change in the spinning dept.

Posted by   on (January 6, 2014, 6:59 GMT)

Mahela has to improve the front foot because the bowlers bang the ball short especially bilawal bhatti

Posted by Mahbob-Rahman on (January 6, 2014, 6:53 GMT)

Mahela is a class player, no doubt on his performance since last couple of years. Let's see how he handles the pressure in coming test.

Posted by android_user on (January 6, 2014, 6:52 GMT)

you cant judge any1 on basis of 1 match. youngsters performed in that match but still lot to prove. and he failed in that match but also by far a better batsman than some of the youngsters playing. still 2 games remaining and those 2 will tell what will happen for him

Posted by AltafPatel on (January 6, 2014, 6:52 GMT)

It's time up for Mahela. Following Kallis way, he should retire when on high. Fight from SL in last test showed caliber of the team to play at test level.

Posted by   on (January 6, 2014, 6:48 GMT)

Snagkkara and Mahela both r the backbone of Srilankan team so without them SL Team is incomplete...! ups and down always happen in cricket with every player but u should not forget the huge experience and class of mahi he is world class player and he has played match winning knocks for his team in all formats of the game when his team was struggling especially in big tournament like world cup he has done outstanding job for lankan team...! and we cannot forget his 15 years of career for lankan team! bcoz he has played brilliant and classy cricket throughout his career...! i would like to see sanga and mahela in lankan team for 5 years more just like Sachin (Respect) bcoz sanga and mahela still have potential and ability to do well...!!! best of Luck Lions

Posted by ANI_CRIC_FUNDA on (January 6, 2014, 6:47 GMT)

Legend with BAT means:-

In TESTS

who has played atleast 12-15 yrs for his country & scored heavily like 8000+ i.e. 10000+, 12000+, 13000+ runs with avg atleast close to 50 if not more & these days even strike rate of atleast 50+ required in Tests with atleast 25+ 100s i.e. again 30+, 35+ or 40-45 100s

and

In ODIs,

Atleast played 200+ ODIs i.e. 250+, 300+, 350+, 400+ ODIs with 8000 or more runs i.e. 10000+, 12000+ runs with atleast 35+ avg (for openers/no.3, it is around 40 or more (these days some have even around 50, for no. 4 or 5, atleast above 35 required i.e. atleast around 37-38) with strike rate these days atleast 80-85 if not more i.e. 88+, 90+ in atleast 10-12+ yrs.......

Posted by MaruthuDelft on (January 6, 2014, 6:43 GMT)

Of late Mahela concentrated on his spoken English rather than cricket. It could happen to Sri Lankan cricketers because they are not treated on par with other professionals so they look for other means to enhance their social standing. With our neighbours India any professional who fights his way to top is treated a star and I think that is what it should be. Anyway Jayawardena is just an ordinary player. His returns away from South Asia are so bad which actually renders his beautiful batting irrelevant.

Posted by   on (January 6, 2014, 6:31 GMT)

It is clear that some comments came from fans who haven't enough Knowledge of Test cricket Still Test cricket is far different format from ODI and T20 formats. I m not trying to say i m an expert . but Mahela and sanga should play for another 2 years for SL with youngsters and i can never agree with vatsap because we have enough youngsters to even go pass both Greate mahela and sanga. that is how make good players just letting youngsters play together with seniors for some times today india is the poorest performers at away home

Posted by   on (January 6, 2014, 6:28 GMT)

No point in playing against same countries again and again,,, They need to travel around world. Mahels and Sanga needs to concentrate on 15 world cup rather than playing every match,,,,,

Posted by ANI_CRIC_FUNDA on (January 6, 2014, 6:21 GMT)

Mahela Jayawardene

Mts Inns NO Runs BF Ave S.R H.S 100 50 4s 6s 0s BF/Inns 4s/Inns

139 234 14 10811 20986 49.14 51.52 374 31 45 1282 53 14 89.7 5.5

Kumar Sangakkara

118 202 16 10557 19559 56.76 53.98 287 33 43 1299 36 9 96.8 6.4

So these stats speak volumes for itself. No Further explanation required. MJ can play Tests till end of 2015 & sanga start of 2016..... both are now 36+ yrs old......

Posted by android_user on (January 6, 2014, 6:15 GMT)

mahela and sanga are extreme poles apart...sanga is truly a great...mahela...just ordinary

Posted by   on (January 6, 2014, 6:09 GMT)

What an unflattering picture! Haha

Posted by galle61 on (January 6, 2014, 6:07 GMT)

drop him.he is 36 yrs old now.thirimanna,priyanjan or munaweera should take his place.this is subcontinent pheonomenon that you continue playing till you are thrown out.he has done well for himself and the country.time for someone else.i feel the same for sanga as well.

Posted by   on (January 6, 2014, 6:02 GMT)

Its too bad to comment him on this issue for just last two innings. Rest of SL player who had been experience for T20 & ODI and played for Test. Only Mahel was just came in after without playing few matches in raw at home series and back in to play for the test. It takes little time to adjust to condition after being dropped for some times. Guys come on open-up your eyes on generalist.

Posted by   on (January 6, 2014, 6:01 GMT)

First tym i saw mahela jayawerdene scared frm a bowler.credit must be given to bhatti da way he approaches his first test match. I wish u make mahela dance in the crease again in the 2nd test . Go hard deah best of luck

Posted by Rufus_Fuddleduck on (January 6, 2014, 5:57 GMT)

Maybe an aberration, maybe a portent. One could recall Rahul Dravid in England 2011 where he was superb with the bat. However, with bad reflexes, he dropped a plethora of catches at slip, many crucial to the series (Cook, Pietersen, Broad et al in their game-changing knocks). Now forward to Australia where his reflexes were shown up as shot. Hope Mahela doesn't go the same route. And partly its Cricinfo's syndrome - are you people listening? You lionised Laxman as the Sultan of Smooth and he fell off, then you went after Hashim last year and he's not been burning the outfields much. Mahela too. For God's sake leave the silken batters alone, and lionise the bashing cavemen - Dhoni, Warner, Smith - so we enjoy some more vestiges of civilisation. Peace.

Posted by stormy16 on (January 6, 2014, 5:56 GMT)

The poiint is valid but surely not after the first test. SL and Mahela in particular has not played proper cricket (longer version) for a while now so it's no surprise that some would struggle, particularly in Mahela's case, not been part of the limited over team. The point however is valid, you cannot carry an 'older' player in the team and the numbers are not looking good for Mahela in recent past but the debate should be held for end of the series.

Posted by vatsap on (January 6, 2014, 5:37 GMT)

I don't see a single young srilankan who can replace MJ. If he was playing for a spot in SAF or Australia then he could be dropped, but he is a sub-continent player where the respect for a person's record is higher than his present form even if that extends for 2 years. So no worries, I don't see him being dropped.

Posted by sameed129 on (January 6, 2014, 5:34 GMT)

Thirimanne should have a place in the side. He got solid technique among all new comers.

Posted by VKohlitheGreat on (January 6, 2014, 5:31 GMT)

Makes me wonder, inspite of the flat wicket in the first test he fell thrice to three balls (including the no-ball ofcourse) afterall performing on flat tracks is surely his forte.

Posted by   on (January 6, 2014, 5:15 GMT)

SL Playing 11 in Tests should be listed for present and future like this,, 01.Kusal,02.Kaushal,03.Sangakkara/Thirimanne,04.Mahela/Dimuth Karunaratne05.Chandimal,06.Mathews 07.Dilruwan Perera/Angelo Perera 08.Rangana Herath/Sachithra Senanayake 09.Suranga Lakmal/Chanaka Welagedara/Nuwan Pradeep 10.Shaminda Eranga/Nuwan kulasekara 11.Ajantha Mendis/Seekkuge Prasanna.SL should try to qualify upcoming Test Championship with strong Test Players.

Posted by   on (January 6, 2014, 5:08 GMT)

No doubt and no question what so ever on Mahela's ability and this is just normal. Every player has to go through this cycle of form. You can really question on the place in SL team of this player. It is not fair by any means. Just give him sometime to recollect his right mind and focus. Unlike any Mahela is really irreplaceable.

Posted by   on (January 6, 2014, 5:04 GMT)

Mahela just needs one good knock to get back in form. A player of his class should be able to do that. Still, it's good to have pressure on the seniors.

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