Dominant at home, vulnerable away
Less than a month back, Mahela Jayawardene became the second Sri Lankan batsman after Sanath Jayasuriya to reach the 10,000-run mark in ODIs. But in the second Test against South Africa in Durban, he scaled an even greater landmark- that of 10,000 runs in Tests. He becomes the ninth player overall and the first Sri Lankan to reach the mark. Jayawardene reached the 10,000-run mark in his 210th innings, making him the fifth-fastest (in terms of innings batted) to get there. In the course of the last decade, along with Muttiah Muralitharan's bowling, Jayawardene's batting has played a major role in cementing Sri Lanka's position as a highly-dominant team in home Tests.
Jayawardene has scored over 80% of his career runs batting at No.4. While his aggregate of 8167 runs at this position is second only to Sachin Tendulkar's 12754, his average of 55.18 at No.4 is third behind Jacques Kallis and Tendulkar (among batsmen with 5000-plus runs at No.4). His association with Sri Lanka's second-highest run-getter Kumar Sangakkara has been one of the most prolific in Tests. The pair is one among only four to aggregate over 5000 partnership runs and the average of 60.29 is third on the list of highest partnership averages (pairs with 4000-plus partnership runs).
Over the years, Sri Lanka have been exceptional in home Tests but far more vulnerable away. Jayawardene's batting stats tell a similar story. He has been outstanding at home, scoring over 60% of his career runs at a superb average of 62.92. He has scored 20 centuries in home Tests but has managed just nine in away contests. Jayawardene's batting, which has been all about grace and elegance, has not quite been at the same level outside the subcontinent. In matches played in the subcontinent, he averages 57.22 with 23 centuries. In contrast, he has averaged just 35.42 outside Asia with six centuries. However, in 13 home Tests as a captain, he has been enormously successful with seven centuries and an average over 100. Although he has lacked the same form outside Asia, his stats as a captain outside the subcontinent (average 45.88 with five centuries) are better than his numbers as a non-captain.
All stats are updated till the end of Jayawardene's first innings in Durban
|As captain (home)||13||19||1706||100.35||7/4|
|As captain (away)||15||28||1239||45.88||5/1|
Jayawardene, who made his debut in 1997, had a fairly decent start to his Test career, averaging over 45 in his first 25 Tests. In 2001, he scored four centuries and went past 1000 runs in a year for the first time in his career. In the period from 2003-2007, he scored 12 centuries and fell just short of 1000 runs in a year in both 2006 and 2007. In July 2006, playing at the SSC, he set the record for the highest score by a Sri Lankan batsman when he made 374 against South Africa. He followed up this knock with another century in the next Test to take Sri Lanka to a one-wicket win.
Statistically, 2007 proved to be his best year as he aggregated 982 runs at a stunning average of 98.20 with five centuries. His top form continued in to 2009 as he scored 1194 runs in 11 Tests including a double-century in Ahmedabad in a series Sri Lanka lost 2-0. In 2011, however, he has averaged just 25.15 with his solitary century coming in the fourth innings in the defeat against Australia in Galle.
Jayawardene, like most Sri Lankan batsmen, has played often against Bangladesh and Zimbabwe and profited heavily (1280 runs in 19 Tests at an average 60.95).
A detailed analysis of his record against each team both home and away reveals some interesting numbers. Against both Australia and Pakistan, Jayawardene has found the going tough in home matches too. While he scored his only century against Australia in home Tests in Galle earlier this year, he is yet to score a hundred against Pakistan at home. In 13 away/neutral matches against Pakistan, Jayawardene averages 32.79 with a century and three fifties. He has played only four Tests in Australia and has been below-par, averaging just 34.25 with one century.
Against most other teams, there is a distinct disparity in his run-scoring in home and away Tests. The largest such difference is in matches against South Africa (home average 105.27 and away average 30.00) and England (home average 89.16 and away average 34.11). While his performances in home and away Tests against India are comparable, the same is not true against New Zealand (home average 66.72 and away average 27.71). From these numbers, it is quite clear Jayawardene has had his problems in countries where the conditions are in favour of seam and swing bowlers.
|Opposition||Matches (home)||Runs/Avg (home)||100/50 (home)||Matches (away)||Runs/Avg (away)||100/50 (away)||Matches (overall)||Runs/Avg (overall)||100/50 (overall)|
Jayawardene's batting stats are heavily skewed towards the team's first innings. He has scored 7384 runs at an average close to 60 in his team's first innings but just 2631 runs at 36.54 in the second innings.
In the second innings of matches [out of four], he's scored 13 centuries and an average of 68.30 as compared to a corresponding number of 50.79 in the first innings. In the third innings, he has scored just two centuries at a low average of 30.94. However, Jayawardene's fourth-innings performance is among the very best. His average of 50.30 makes him one among only six batsmen to score over 1000 runs in the fourth innings and have an average over 50. However, as is the case with his overall away numbers, his second-innings (third and fourth innings of matches) average falls to just 27.79 in away matches against top teams (excluding matches against Bangladesh and Zimbabwe).
|Innings of match||No of innings (home)||Runs/avg (home)||100/50 (home)||No of innings (away)||Runs/avg (away)||100/50 (away)|
Reaching the 10,000-run mark places Jayawardene in illustrious company. Not only is he the first Sri Lankan to get there but is also the fourth player from the subcontinent after Sunil Gavaskar, Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid to achieve the feat. The table below analyses the batsmen's run-distribution in home and away Tests.
Jayawardene, who has played 70 of his 127 matches (55%) at home, has scored nearly 63% of his total runs in home Tests. His away-run percentage (36.97) is the lowest among all players in the group. Dravid, who has played 70 of his 160 Tests at home (44%), has scored 57.24% of his total runs in away games. Gavaskar, the first player to reach the 10,000-run mark, has a near-even distribution of home and away runs.
A batsman's consistency in away matches can be gauged from the ratio of his away average to his home average. While Tendulkar and Jacques Kallis have ratios of 0.98 and 0.97 respectively, Allan Border and Steve Waugh have away averages that are much better than their home averages (ratios of 1.23 and 1.16). Jayawardene, who falls way behind in this list with a corresponding ratio of just 0.61, is likely to be remembered more for his outstanding match-winning exploits in home Tests than his display in away games.
|Player||Total runs/avg||Matches (home)||Runs/avg (home)||100/50 (home)||Matches (away)||Runs/avg (away)||100/50 (away)||away runs %||ratio of away avg to home avg|