Sri Lanka v England, 2nd Test, Colombo, 1st day

Underrated Jayawardene among the best

It was deja vu on day one in Colombo as Mahela Jayawardene again played an innings to confirm his status as among the best of a generation

Andrew McGlashan in Colombo

April 3, 2012

Comments: 112 | Text size: A | A

Mahela Jayawardene made 105, his 31st Test hundred and eighth against England, Sri Lanka v England, 2nd Test, Colombo, 1st day, April 3, 2012
Mahela Jayawardene can comfortably sit among the best batsman of his generation © AFP
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This Test series has moved to Colombo, the captains have tossed up again and a new match has started. That may all sound blindingly obvious but for long periods of the opening day at the P Sara Oval it was as though the action was still down the coast in Galle.

James Anderson was outstanding with the new ball, as he is on virtually every occasion these days, and England stuck to their task after Andrew Strauss lost another important toss. But most significantly, there was the man standing between the visitors and, in all likelihood, taking control of this Test as Mahela Jayawardene followed his 180 from last week with a sublime 105.

It was an almost faultless display. He did not offer a full-blooded chance until being trapped lbw by Graeme Swann. In Galle he was given three clear-cut lives. The closest he came on this occasion was a fine edge to first slip off Anderson on 79. By the time he had reached 20 it felt almost inevitable that he would play a leading role. And all this after starting his innings facing a hat-trick ball for second consecutive Test. Jayawardene is not the type to fret but he certainly has not had long to ponder what batting might be like before getting his chance.

Last week he defended the hat-trick ball to mid-off, this time he clipped it off his pads to fine leg. During the innings he added another 10 boundaries and a six mostly with that same deftness of touch. Few other batsmen have caused England such trouble in recent times; Mike Hussey was prolific for the first three Ashes Tests in 2010-11 and Rahul Dravid took huge efforts to dismiss during the series last year. That is both immense credit to the England bowlers and also adds to the brilliance of Jayawardene.

The crucial stand, which zapped England's early momentum, came with Thilan Samaraweera as the pair added 124. Samaraweera could not survive until tea and, perhaps crucially, Jayawardene fell 45 minutes before the close but he had kept his team in the match.

He has a simple philosophy of play late, play straight and at the moment is more than a few notches above anything else in the Sri Lanka team with the possible exception of Angelo Mathews who played excellently to see out the day. Tillakaratne Dilshan is playing in one-day mode - and even then some of shots would be classed as reckless - Lahiru Thirimanne looks out of his depth and Kumar Sangakkara is out of form. No wonder Jayawardene is in early these days.

"We have trouble at the top of the order," Samaraweera said. "Thirimanne is young and needs to have a chance and I think Dilshan will come good in the second innings. But Mahela is in tremendous form. He gave me plenty of advice in the middle."

Jayawardene can comfortably sit among the finest batsmen of his generation yet, you sense, has never quite got the acclaim of some of his contemporaries. He is one of nine batsman with over 10,000 Test runs, a milestone he achieved during the series in South Africa in December and January. Yet that great moment, when it arrived, came with far less fanfare than it had for a Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Ricky Ponting or Jacques Kallis.

Being away from home will have played a part in that and it will not have helped that he was run out at Centurion going for the 10,000th run before crossing the line in Durban a few days later. Yet it sums up how Jayawardene can slip under the radar despite a Test average over 50 and a career-best of 374. Twenty-two centuries on home soil put him level with Kallis and Tendulkar leaving only Ponting (23 hundreds) ahead. Even with the fact that many of his runs have come in batting-friendly subcontinent conditions it remains a phenomenal record.

He had also entered this series without a Test fifty in 12 innings but the odds were always in favour of him making amends against England, a team he has rarely failed to prosper against. This is the second time he has made hundreds in consecutive Tests against them, following his 195 and 213 during the previous series in 2007.

He was clearly unhappy when given out lbw, even though the DRS fully supported Asad Rauf, but he will have sensed his departure had given England an opening he had fought so hard to keep shut. This pitch will not get any better for batting so if Sri Lanka can push their way over 300, as they did in Galle, they will be well placed. After all the effort he has put in, anything less than a series victory would not be just reward for Jayawardene.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by indicricket on (April 4, 2012, 16:25 GMT)

That Jayawardene is a superb player, there is no doubt. Is he underrated, I don't think so. It is rightly so that he is not compared with the likes of Ponting, Lara, Tendulkar, Dravid....There is s huge difference in his home and away average. Again, a fantastic player, I love his style very much. But not a underrated player. For me Aravinda D'silva is still my favourite Srilankan batsmen.

Posted by   on (April 4, 2012, 12:16 GMT)

@YorkshirePudding 100% agree...he is no where near any great

Posted by bravetigersmustwin on (April 4, 2012, 11:52 GMT)

Mahela is acutally overrated... he is nowhere near to indian leagends Sachin, Dravid and laxman. These guys chellenged and played well against the greatest team even when those teams were at the top e.g Aus...

Posted by popped on (April 4, 2012, 11:06 GMT)

wow MJ has a career spanning 15 years and only 30 matches played outside the sub-continent except Zim of course, something wrong somewhere !!!!

Posted by VinodGupte on (April 4, 2012, 10:39 GMT)

sorry, jayawardena is a player who can play his best game when he is in sri lanka. once he travels to AUS, SA and ENG, his average dips to shameful single and double digits. just look at his record in those countries.

sangakkara, now that's a great batsman from sri lanka.

Posted by   on (April 4, 2012, 10:21 GMT)

he is a class player b8 not a great player .... sangakara is far better than him... mahela is only great in asian conditions.... 25 test centuries out of 31 n 36 fifties out of 40 r in Asian conditions ... this is not a record of a great player i guess.....

Posted by Simoc on (April 4, 2012, 10:17 GMT)

M Jayawardene was outstanding recently in Australia and I think is at the top of his game right now. All these players need to cash in when the conditions are obliging and Ponting/Clarke did in OZ this year. For entertainment well David Gower, Greg Chappell, Damien Martyn, Bryan Lara, Yurav Singh are all better batsman to watch.

Posted by hawkeye30 on (April 4, 2012, 9:48 GMT)

@ranga_s - You said it all!! and remember SL does not get much opportunity to tour countries like England, Aus, SA as often as maybe other teams. Hence you have to factor that aspect in too when analyzing.

Posted by MAW71 on (April 4, 2012, 9:33 GMT)

jonesy2, why do most of the English, Australian, South African, WI, and NZ batsmen fail on these flat wickets that is super easy to bat on. Enough said. I agree.

Posted by S.Jagernath on (April 4, 2012, 9:30 GMT)

Whether Sri Lankan pitches are flat or not,it does not matter.Every team may set the sort of pitch they desire,obviously one to provide a result.Mahela Jayawardene is very,very good in those conditions.The problem is that for a hundred years,a batsman was always rated by his abilities away from home & on dificult surfaces.Jayawardene averages 38 away from Sri Lanka & has centuries everywhere but South Africa.It must be said that on tours to Australia,Sri Lanka have not played at Perth & neither have they played at Trent Bridge in England.Both grounds test all batsmen severely.Jayawardene's century tally is embarassing though,22 of 31 centuries in Sri Lanka is shameful.Rahul Dravid has 6 centuries in England alone.An underrated batsmen is Younis Khan,his overseas record is very good & he is dominating in Asia.The word great needs to stop being thrown around!

Posted by   on (April 4, 2012, 9:29 GMT)

The flat track argument is just silly. Neither Galle or this particular wicket is by any means flat.

Posted by Mark00 on (April 4, 2012, 9:19 GMT)

In regards to talk of "flat wickets," here are the average runs per wicket at

Galle: 31.41 WACA: 32.29 Adelaide Oval: 35.74

Posted by YorkshirePudding on (April 4, 2012, 9:06 GMT)

Mahela is an excellent batsman and has a lovely batting Technique, however the reason he is not a great is that he averages ~23.8 runs per innings less away from home. Compare this to great batsmen like SRT and Dravid, you notice that thier home and away averages are very similar, thus showing they are excel in all conditions.

Posted by MAW71 on (April 4, 2012, 9:05 GMT)

To all the Indians who talk rubbish about Mahela's test average outside the subcontinent. Please check the statistics. Only Tendulkar and Dravid have better test averages than Mahela outside the subcontinent. Please get the facts correct and listen to the comments of the commentators who are experts on cricket. Mahela is much better than rest of the past and current Indian test players. Those who are non Indians who talk about subcontinent flat track wickets admit it that you are hopeless on spinning wickets. Cricket is played everywhere not only in England, SA, Australia, WI and NZ where they have fast wickets. You have to perform every where not only on fast wickets. You are failures in subcontinent.

Posted by jonesy2 on (April 4, 2012, 8:55 GMT)

ok lets get this straight. he is a very good player but he is far from a great player. all his runs come at home on flat wickets that is super easy to bat on. enougn said

Posted by   on (April 4, 2012, 8:24 GMT)

mahela is good but not great, he is great only in sub continent

Posted by Yasassri on (April 4, 2012, 8:18 GMT)

He is a player to watch for youngsters. His techniques is best in the world...!

Posted by Venki_indian on (April 4, 2012, 8:14 GMT)

He is nowhere near any great batsman, he is just a good batsman at home...

Posted by HLANGL on (April 4, 2012, 8:12 GMT)

Underrated ??? ... IMO, he's already a massively overrated & overhyped batsman. His & S'kara's stats have to be analyzed to see how they have built their seemingly great averages compared to some other true greats who clearly deserve far better than these two. How many games these two have won compared to the 225+ tests & 650+ ODIs they have played between them ?. After just 2 hundreds, that again in his 2 favorite home dens after so many utter failures in unfamiliar conditions, & 75% of innings coming at only a mediocre pedestrian scoring rates by modern day standards with not much impact on the end results of the games, does Mahela deserve any better than what he has been already given ?. The same logic applies to S'kara, may be even to a greater extent.

Posted by MaruthuDelft on (April 4, 2012, 7:16 GMT)

@testcricfan24, you are so precise on Jayawardena. I would like to add the following; he is not hopeless say like Virendar Sehwag in foreign conditions. he can stand to deliver in Australia and SA but has inexplicably failed in so many important tests. I guess he has too brittle a mind to consistently defy top attacks; he can do well occasionally though. Sachin, Dravid, Laxman, Sanga, Younis, Yusuf, Kallis, AB De villiers, Pitersen, Gayle, Ponting and all Australian batsmen played during the Australian domination years are better than him. Hence he would not sneak into even the first 20.

Posted by   on (April 4, 2012, 6:52 GMT)

some of the srilankan fans are calling south african bowlers as someone who can only bowl in swinging conditions....that is totally wrong,south africa has not only got the most balanced attack but also the most balanced overall lineup...philander hasnt played much....morkel is inconsistent,but can bowl unplayable deliveries...steyn has done well in almost every part of the world....he has won matches for south africa in england,aus,india,pak... so its not fair to say that he performs only on green tracks... saf have done well everywhere in the last 5 years....they may not have won much in subcontinent but they havent lost either...mahelas good but hasnt performed well overseas... indian and england batters are no different....

Posted by   on (April 4, 2012, 6:41 GMT)

Good article on Mahela and he truly deserves the credit. However, unable to comprehend "..Even with the fact that many of his runs have come in batting-friendly subcontinent conditions..." Home advantage must be true for all greats of the game and when two teams play in a series (including in the sub continent) will players of both teams not be subjected to similar conditions? Mahela has played fighting / entertaining innings outside the sub continent too.

Posted by stormy16 on (April 4, 2012, 6:02 GMT)

The author clearly states why Mahela will never get the recognition in the 3rd last para - "batting friendly sub-continent wickets". This is now the 5th innings of this series and no team has reached 400 - how friendly are these batting conditions. Series before against Aus was similar - the perception is that runs made in Asia are some how 'cheaper' than runs made elsewhere and every wicket in Asia is a belter. Its this perception that stops Mahela getting the recognition he deserves. The fact is he is a brilliant batter with silky skills and his struggles against foreign conditions is brought up as a factor. If we apply the same basis to say the all mighty Indian batting line or even the current English batting line up I am sure some of the so called greats will be no different to Mahela.

Posted by Robin-Hood on (April 4, 2012, 5:59 GMT)

@GREATEST_GAME --- Yes u r right. Stacs.. shows kallis above Sanath, but can u compare with Sanath batting and Kalliis batting? who's most entertainer of the game? sanath or kallis, who will love to watch batting? Kallis too is a great player. It's like sachin and gutham batting. which one u love to watch scoring 100? ofcourse sachin. sad to say, sanath has ended most of the careers of indian bowlers.

Posted by testcricfan24 on (April 4, 2012, 5:57 GMT)

Forget home/away stats, just check his stats by removing two of his main hunting grounds Galle and Colombo (SSC). I was surprised to see that just by removing those two ground his average comes down to 39, yes I am right 39 from 87 tests and that includes his exploits in India. He averages a mere 42 in other Sri Lankan grounds from 29 tests. About his average outside the subcontinent, well less said , the better. So no, he is not a great by any means, a great player to watch though, quite elegant.

Posted by   on (April 4, 2012, 5:25 GMT)

who cares abt flat track bully?

Posted by Lord.emsworth on (April 4, 2012, 5:04 GMT)

I wouldnt say that Mahela Jayawardene is underrated. Every single cricket journalist I know sings his praises loudly whenever possible. He can do no wrong. Some time ago an Indian journalist described MJ's outburst at an umpire as 'Charming'! For years I have read of his silky shots, his elegance, his calmness, etc, etc. I dont see too many English writers talking in EQUAL glowing praises of Bell, KP, Cook etc. KP for instance is always the subject of cricticism for something or another...

Posted by Gupta.Ankur on (April 4, 2012, 4:57 GMT)

The reason why Jayawardene is under-rated is that he seldom scores outside sub-continent. @kirstenfan: completely agree.

Posted by Mr.Khb on (April 4, 2012, 4:51 GMT)

May be Mahela doesn't have a good avarage out of sub-continent. But that doesnt mean he is bad playing out of asia. If you say a batsman who has passed 10000 runs in both test & ODI format is bad. Then surely you are someone who wants to see the batsman scoring 50+ in every game. And remember what special in him is he can play at any place of the batting order,and in any situation!! And he can switch the mode from test to t20s at anytime. And I wish him all the best for future.

Posted by Mark00 on (April 4, 2012, 4:42 GMT)

The myth of Sri Lankan pitches being "batting friendly" needs to be shelved. The statistics show that India is the most batting friendly, but only by a small amount, with England being next.

Posted by   on (April 4, 2012, 4:39 GMT)

There is more to mahela's batting than statistics. The, almost lazy, elegance of his batmanship is something many of the more prolific & more statistically accomplished batsmen would kill to have. The thing is, much like mark waugh & VVS, you can watch one mahela innings and be convinced of his greatness.

Way too many people who should know better reduce cricket to statistics. That's wrong IMO. Cricket is a visual spectacle.

Posted by GreenGoat on (April 4, 2012, 4:33 GMT)

Sanga is the fast track/all round guy, mahela is the spin track maestro.... think they complement each other beautifully... statistically, sanga is superior, in fact, he has HIGHEST the test batting average for the last 5 years at 62 for any batsman in the world (next closest are kallis and AB at 60) - i think sanga is even more under-rated than mahela... hope he gets some runs in the 2nd innings... great to see mahela in great form, and pure talent-wise, mahela is better than sanga so hope he becomes the best batmen in the world over the next few years and corrects his overseas record :D

Posted by   on (April 4, 2012, 4:20 GMT)

The heading itself is a joke.when was Jayawardena underrated???He is the most technically correct batsman in the Sri Lanka batting line up.This is why he is amongst the best although contributions are not coming in from the other senior batsman sangakkara & dilshan at the moment.It is a pity that selectors are still playing with thirimanne & dilshan at the top.Dilshan must bat lower in the order and I'm sure he will make a significant contribution than what he has done upto now because test cricket is not cowboy cricket as everyone understands.Good luck Sri Lanka .Strike while the iron is hot.

Posted by   on (April 4, 2012, 4:11 GMT)

MJV is probably best batsman in the world rigth npw and i am indian and all indian should accept.

Posted by NumberXI on (April 4, 2012, 4:10 GMT)

22 centuries at home out of 31. A home batting average which is 24+ runs better than his away average. A neutral venue average of 12.87. Jayawardene is elegant, possibly one of the best batsmen SL has produced in a while, but far from being mentioned alongside some of the batting greats of his generation.

Posted by   on (April 4, 2012, 4:08 GMT)

@Venki_indian i dont know why u have such a grudge against a world class batsman , it is always a pleasure watching mahela play those elegant cover drive and straight drive ,he is truly a remarkable player

Posted by   on (April 4, 2012, 4:04 GMT)

@Kirstenfan He has scored 5 test centuries against SA. First know ur stats then talk....

Posted by   on (April 4, 2012, 3:49 GMT)

@ Kirstenfan do you want me to remind that MJs best test score 374 and world record partnership with sanga came against your so called PROPER bowling attack... may be they are only proper in green carpets... dude... watch some cricket before commenting... but I do agree for ur thoughts abt swan.... waaaay tooo over rated... comparing to SL n Paki spinners.... who r real best... and abt mj yes hes underrated .... if hes a english batsmen... by now hes a legend specially to the english media... everyone should understand hes batting this well while captaining unlike english captain...

Posted by   on (April 4, 2012, 3:36 GMT)

I guess everyone is entitled to their own opinions. But credit should be given when its due.Mahela has been stalwart of cricket for the past ten years. True he has a better record at home, but who doesn't?? Mahela is one of the most graceful , elegant batsmen of the modern era. period.

Posted by dsig3 on (April 4, 2012, 3:30 GMT)

I think he is a great player but not underrated. Its been mentioned so many times but his away record lets him down. With his home tracks though, he is unquestionably a master. Watching him toy with the English is a masterclass in sub continent batting that even an Australian can appreciate.

Posted by kangarooo on (April 4, 2012, 3:19 GMT)

mahela's average aganist two teams with good spin bowling options australia -35.26 pakistan-30.71 . his elevated averages @home comes aganist southafrica and england who didnt have a decent spinner in their attack

Posted by geraldf on (April 4, 2012, 3:16 GMT)

Average in Sri Lanka, 63. Average out of Sri Lanka, 40. Enough said.

Posted by podichetty on (April 4, 2012, 2:55 GMT)

@bluefunk--can't agree with you more, ask the english batsmen if subcontinent conditions are batting friendly !

Posted by Meety on (April 4, 2012, 2:55 GMT)

(CONT.) I do admit that I appreaciate batting on FAST & BOUNCIER pitches more, I honestly do believe better cricket is played on it. However, that does not mean to say that batting on a slow & low pitch that turns, doesn't have a high level of skill. If it was easier to bat in Asia, then all non-asian batsmen in general should have a correspondingly higher average in Asia than their career average. That is usually NOT the case. So whilst I would not rate MJ in the top 5 batsmen I have seen, I would rate him up there with Mark Waugh as the most delightful/prettiest batsmen I have seen. I couldn't care less if he is AWAY averages is below 30, doesn't change the fact that he is an accomplished batsmen & has a test average above 50, (not that many have achieved this).

Posted by Meety on (April 4, 2012, 2:48 GMT)

@Dravid_Gravitas - agree 100%. Mahela is all class, but to be mentioned at the very top pedestal, a few glitches in his career needs to be remedied. Who cares anyway, he is a joy to watch & he really has issued the world two back to back masterclasses. @Perera32 - I take that as a classic pre-emptive strike! LOL! @Sanath-Jayasuriya - is that self promotion? Santah accumulated runs & wickets over a LONG period of time, he was in no ways a great allrounder, good YES! == == == I hate classifying sub-continental pitches as FLAT, & calling asian batsmen FLAT TRACK BULLIES. It's dumb & ill-informed. I am an Ozzy & I love Ozzy pitches, I think they offer the best all-round cricket. In Asia the pitches tend to be SLOW & LOW, that does not = flat. This pitch is a classic example, (& Galle), there is nothing flat about them. This pitch has cracks, (so does the WACA), this pitch has had something in it for pace bowlers & will favour the spinners more & more. (TBC)

Posted by Greatest_Game on (April 4, 2012, 2:38 GMT)

@Sanath-Jayasuriya Do you not know who the best all rounder of the last decade is??? You wrote "Sanath was the best all rounder … Jayasuriya has taken 20,000 runs both test and odi, and 400 wickets odi and test and 200 catches. Can u name any player above him." Yes - anyone who closely follows cricket would be able to. KALLIS. Test & ODI: Runs - 23 877, wickets - 546, catches - 306. That puts Kallis well above the figures of Jayasuriya!

Posted by   on (April 4, 2012, 2:18 GMT)

@Ramesh Dharshana Perera first LMAO :D , He has scored only 6 test centuries outside subcontinent , so don't spread your falsehood and yes he is one of the best of this generation but certainly his overseas record is less than impressive.And same i can say for Sangakkara who also has only 6 test centuries outside subcontinent , whereas Dravid has 14 test centuries.So kindly cross check your stats before posting them also Dravid is way way better than any SL batsmen ever produced, let alone comparision with Sachin :)

Posted by kriskingle on (April 4, 2012, 1:59 GMT)

@lucky Karunaratne: Mahela's WC century is not talked about, not because it was in a losing cause, but it was in a losing cause against India, in one their biggest matches in India. Mahela is underrated, but only because his overseas record does not match his home record. That fact is not a blight on a sterling carer; scoring 7000 runs on turners with low and uneven bounce is never a small matter, even considering the fact that on has been playing on them all one's life. Having a consistent performance in all conditions and on all pitches is an idealization, not a practical matter. No batsman in the history of cricket has even come close to having such a record. An ideal, romantic's notion of a batting record should not be used as a yardstick to measure a good batsman's achievements.

Posted by redneck on (April 4, 2012, 1:27 GMT)

i dont get how or why people (eg babarzia in this post) are putting english and australian conditions in the same basket???? english pitches are not anything like australias just as the sub continents arent either! they use different balls too. england play alot of cricket in temps bellow 20C. over head cloud and the ball doesnt carry like in aus or sa. its one of the beuties of cricket the different conditions around the world and even inside different countries! i think to simplify all sub continent as dustbowls and all eng, sa and aus as 'grassbowls' with bounce is too much of generalisation. also i dont think mahela is underrated, playing sri lanka you always know jayawardene and sangakara are the 2 prized wickets to get. both outright champions in their own right

Posted by Woody111 on (April 4, 2012, 0:44 GMT)

@ bluefunk - too right! It is bizarre that people think a slow turner equals a road. Surely Adelaide Oval with true bounce and consistent pace is easier to make big runs on yet tons there are considered in higher esteem than those in SL? That beggars belief. Clarke's century at Galle last year was considered majestic because of the difficult conditions, Lyon taking 5 for on a pitch turning square. It was said at the time that Lyon would like to take that pitch everywhere he went as it was perfect to bowl on for a spinner. Make no mistake, Mahela has done immeasurably well to make successive tons when few others of either side could make many at all. Trott did equally well to get his and both players should be congratulated for their performances. Sanga may be easier on the eye but Mahela is first rate. I hope he makes another visit down under in a test capacity!

Posted by   on (April 4, 2012, 0:28 GMT)

He is under-rated that is true but then all of the others mentioned in the same bracket (Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Ricky Ponting or Jacques Kallis) are over-rated. We are in an era of over-rated Test batsmen but among these (and please add in Sangakkara and Laxman) he should stand equal. Oh, and please note these all stand ahead of Cook, Pieterson, Trott, Bell and Clarke

Posted by Chris_P on (April 4, 2012, 0:08 GMT)

While he looks good and no doubt a classy batsman, his stats in England, Australia, Sth Africa & NZ (ave 34, 34, 27 & 27) are very poor for a performer of his class. When SL last toured Australia he just didn't seem comfortable at all, unlike Sanga who oozes class & confidence. But he can only perform to his best when he is asked to and he has done that this series, albeit with a lot of help from the English fielidng. I think he could well have batted England out of this series despite their bowling again impressing. Their batting has been their biggest disappointment by a fair margin.

Posted by bluefunk on (April 3, 2012, 23:42 GMT)

bit of an unfair, blanket generalization to classify subcontinent pitches as batting friendly. i'm sure it takes as much skill to score runs on these pitches against world class bowling as anywhere else.. perhaps more, considering turn and the presence of uneven, often relatively low bounce. the struggle english batsmen are facing is perfect illustration of this. one has to applaud the skill of subcontinental batsmen, who, like Jayawardene, have such mastery over their skill that they make batting on these tracks look ridiculously easy. also, batting on these pitches is a skill not limited to batsmen from the subcontinent, one only has to remember lara's sublime domination over murali on these very pitches a few years back.

Posted by Venki_indian on (April 3, 2012, 23:26 GMT)

As a captain he can be rated as one of the best, because he is leading the weak Srilankan team and doing a great job...As a batsmen he is always overrated.

Posted by Venki_indian on (April 3, 2012, 23:22 GMT)

he is overrated..not underrated. Pathetic record out of Srilanka..out of sub continent...

Posted by Robin-Hood on (April 3, 2012, 23:10 GMT)

@kangaroo-- Sanath was the best all rounder for last decade,none of the above u mentioned. Jayasuriya has taken 20,000 runs both test and odi, and 400 wickets odi and test and 200 catches. Can u name any player above him. The good thing is in Sri lanka we never over rating players like Indians. We don't mind even Mahela scores 400 in next game. That's good for the game. That's it. We don't treat him as a god like indians do.

Posted by   on (April 3, 2012, 23:02 GMT)

I totally agree with Vijith. Mahela's hundred in WC final was one of the best innings I have seen. Sadly it is not talked about cos it was in a losing cause.

Posted by Test-is-the-best on (April 3, 2012, 22:22 GMT)

There is no doubt that Mahela is among the best batsmen in Spiiner Friendly Tracks. These pitches are not flat tracks. This tournament stats are not the one and only evidence to prove that many batsmen cannot capitalize on Spinner friendly tracks. However Mahela need to revisist on his weak points to get much better records in Fast Tracks.

Posted by CricketPissek on (April 3, 2012, 21:39 GMT)

exactly which part of the galle track was flat? i think S Rajesh will have to do some proper numbers analysis to show how Mahela has faired. Just because most of his 100s have come in Sri Lanka does not mean they came on featherbeds. The SSC is a road, granted, but Galle, P Sara, and Kandy are NOT flat tracks! You hardly get drawn test matches there unlike Karachi, Mumbai et al

Posted by PanGlupek on (April 3, 2012, 21:31 GMT)

Totally disagree with the headline suggesting he's under-rated: Almost anyone who understands the game would agree he's one of the best, and most pleasing to watch, batsmen in all formats of the game, and has been for ages.

Can't play abroad? Has everybody forgotten about that ODI series in Aus a couple of weeks ago already?! I know it only had about 8000 matches, and most Indians will say Kohli was better, but seriously, can't see how people can say that man can only play at home after that?!

Posted by   on (April 3, 2012, 21:30 GMT)

Those people who says Mahela is good only in Sub-continent, they how come that is the highest runs scorer in 2009 T20 WC and 2nd in 2007 WC in WI ?? Recent CB series as well ?? 2 hundreds and 3 ODI hundreds in England ?? He is a big game player and score runs when the team mostly needed. If he does open the innings in ODI's he will become NO 1 in the world for sure AVG over 60 as opener. He is simply awesome Cricketer in all 3 formats...!!!

Posted by Kirstenfan on (April 3, 2012, 21:25 GMT)

Typical English journalism - someone scores hundreds against England and they must be a legend. Here's a truth - England aren't so good, and Swann is an over-rated Tweeting fool. Jayawardena couldn't score a run against a proper bowling attack in SA, and that's how good he is

Posted by   on (April 3, 2012, 21:04 GMT)

Ok folks - For all the Sri Lankan Mahela is a world class player on top of everyone because as a sri lankan we know what he has brought to our cricke and to our life.

For those non Sri Lankans who haven't even touched a Cricket bat or a ball Mahela is an avg player ... its ok we can live with it ..

Mahela is legend for US :)

Posted by Nadeem1976 on (April 3, 2012, 20:50 GMT)

Mehela is an awesome cricketer. He has lot's of year in him and he can prove his worth in coming years that he belongs to greatest league. Time is in his hands. He needs to put 3000 more runs on the board to be among the legends. It's so simple.

Today 10000 runs is par of legendary status but 13000 makes you the best of the best. He can wait for his glory days.

Posted by   on (April 3, 2012, 20:49 GMT)

author says "the fact that many of his runs have come in batting-friendly subcontinent conditions". If Asian conditions are so batting friendly why is English batting line up most of whose players were averaging in 60s' or 70s' last year are not able to score even 300 if last 4 tests are anything to go by. Wickets are not bowler friendly only if ball bounces or moves around. Playing spin on turning tracks is as much of a challenge as playing on bouncy tracks. And teams and players which conquer both are true champions. It seems right now, there is no team which is worthy of being called that. Currently every team plays well in conditions similar to those as in their home and fails in alien conditions. England did well in Aus because those were fast bowler friendly conditions which they are more used to and took advantage of a weaker aus team but failed as soon as they came to subcontinent. Similarly INDIA was thumping everyone till they played in Asia but failed miserably outside

Posted by   on (April 3, 2012, 20:31 GMT)

Two hundreds at Lords speak for themselves. Apart from that he has a shrewed cricketing brain & is a class act- both in batting and as an individual.

Posted by BellCurve on (April 3, 2012, 20:27 GMT)

@kangaroo - couldn't agree with you more. Statistically Watson, Flintoff, Klusener and Pollock are the greatest ODI all-rounders of all time. Lehmann and Richards are the greatest ODI batting all-rounders. Hadlee, Dev, Imran, Kallis and Shakib are next on the list. Formula used: BattingAve/BowlingAve+BattingSR/(RunsConceded/100Deliveries)

Posted by babarzia on (April 3, 2012, 20:19 GMT)

CRICINFO PLEASE ENLIGHTEN US WITH A CHART: (FOUR COLUMNS)

BATSMAN - AV. OVERALL - AV. in PK/IND/SL - AVERAGE in ENG/SA/AUS

n then lets see how the Aussies and SouthAfricans have fared when they dont have home advantage. (not counting English team here as they are covered under South Africa already).

lets look at this table and continue the deabte

Posted by   on (April 3, 2012, 20:17 GMT)

I t is difficult to say mahela and sanga are greatest test batsmen SL produced. Roy Dias did not get enough matches to prove him self. SL got more test matches after Aravinda's 30th Birthday. Unfortunately Marvan had a very bad start for his intl carrier. these three should have among the world's best other wise.

Posted by samincolumbia on (April 3, 2012, 20:15 GMT)

@lankanlioncric - You mention that winning at home is not winning at all? Then please explain to us what is winning? Losing all games in an ODI tournament like the Asia Cup? Being happy with being an also-ran team like the WC or the CB series finals! Or the opposition reaching 329 runs in less than 37 overs in Australia!! Or... maybe it's the fact that the over-rated Sri Lanka is yet to win a single series (forget India and abroad) at home since 2009 and that too the opposition was NZ?

Posted by   on (April 3, 2012, 20:05 GMT)

Sri lanka badly need speacialist openers for test cricket. cant't understand, why thirmane prefered over paranavitharne.

Posted by ranga_s on (April 3, 2012, 19:59 GMT)

Well those who think they knows the best about cricket can say Mahela is a sub-continental player or flat track bully or whatever....At the same time what I'd like to know is, if SL pitches are so flat why does overseas touring teams (barring Asian teams) find it very hard to score runs here...Your excuse then would be SL wickets are dust bowls, spin friendly blah blah...If the wickets are such did you ever realize that this flat track bully also play on these spin friendly dustbowls...He scores runs on tracks where you pundits fail to lay the bat on ball...Ponting has a horrid record in SL..Kallis's record here is no where near his career record..Dravid being Indian has an average below 35 in SL..Do we say those are overrated batsmen.NO.If so why all this fuss about Mahela..He was born in SL and played majority of his cricket here..So why is it a sin to perform here...and how bad is it scoring 35 average in Green Top countries...especially when u tour there once in a blue moon.Explain

Posted by tests_the_best on (April 3, 2012, 19:51 GMT)

It's unfair for sl fans to claim mahela is not getting due recognition. sl has produced some great players like murali/sangakkara who have performed all over the world, no one doubts that, but mahela's stats speak for themselves. 70% of centuries at home and vast differences in avg between home and away tests don't make a truly world class batsman. cricinfo stats - sanga test ave 49.95 away, 60.05 at home. mahela 37.94 away, 63.90 at home. I would pick sanga as the best ever sl batsman, performed all over.

Posted by   on (April 3, 2012, 19:22 GMT)

@ all people calling others flat track bullies....subcontinent wickets are flat track yes...so players grow up playing on these.....they are not flat tracks to them...they are home conditions...so ofcz they play well in home conditions....when a england player fails in subcontinent tracks we dont see people saying he's just a green track bully now do we? :P

Posted by   on (April 3, 2012, 19:21 GMT)

@kangarooo I respectfully disagree. Flintoff was an ashes wonder in 2005 and never lived up to that again except for a few moments of brilliance here and there. Peterson is the same. They were/are both woefully overrated and constantly live/lived off a few past successes.

Posted by   on (April 3, 2012, 19:12 GMT)

Mahela is a great batsman and his best innings which was at the 2011 world cup final is all but forgotten because SL lost. He is underrated and has produces some fine innings even abroad. However, Sanga is the most consistant batman and has had some super knocks out of the subcontinent. @Shazzada I must disagree with you. Aravinda De Silva is the best batsman ever produced in Sri Lanka, maybe not for stats, but certainly for pure batting ability.

Posted by   on (April 3, 2012, 18:58 GMT)

Rahul Dravid Avg less than 35 In srilanka, now someone tell me what track bully is he? mahela have played only 4 matches in Australia he got one 100 and couple 50's i guess, in SA mahela played 3 tours, 2 of them were played very early in his career, age 22,23 , and he got few 50's and 99, in those two tours, but 2012 tour was disappointing, but that doesnt mean he cant play in their, he was just out of form, before SA tour he didnt score many runs in Abu dhabi too, and 2011 eng tour also disappointing, but in previous two tours he got couple 100's, and i dont knw much abt his NZ tours, yes he havent done that well in Green tracks, but if u look at those scores carefully, he's not that bad, he has scored 100's in all countries, Except SA, bt he got 99 in there,

Posted by kangarooo on (April 3, 2012, 18:50 GMT)

@wpddesilva andrew flintoff overrated !!!! Huh . Though he hasnt performed up to his talent in tests mainly due to fitness issues still he was the best allrounder in the world cricket in last decade after southafrican duo of kallis and pollock . In ODI he was superb and an ideal one at that -hard hitting batsman and wicket taking bowler .I would tell he is underrated if he is not considered among one of the most influential odi allrounders

Posted by kangarooo on (April 3, 2012, 18:30 GMT)

@perera mahela has poor average outside subcontinent in tests and odis . 9 out of his 15 odi hundreds came in subcontinent . If the srilankan pitches is tough in odis does it account for his below 30 average in away matches . he is good batsman but not consistent enough to be called great alongside sachin,ponting,kallis and dravid

Posted by VernonPhillander on (April 3, 2012, 18:24 GMT)

Mahela, the quiet unassuming gentleman.

Posted by VernonPhillander on (April 3, 2012, 18:19 GMT)

Sri Lanka should play Thirimane in the middle order(if they are so desperate to have him in the team) and then groom him for the opener's spot. I would prefer to see a solid opener like Vandort/Paranavithan up front. Dilshan is Dilshan..prehaps he's due a big inning in the 2nd inning. Sanga is woefully out of form..perhaps drop down the batting order might do him good. Right now, I would take Thirimane out of the Test batting line up.

Posted by lankanlioncric on (April 3, 2012, 18:14 GMT)

Mahela is only good in subcontinent, i agree. but he is still underrated. If he was an indian, now he will be a super star. in SL, we never over rated any player. even murali n sanath n now malinga r under rated. WE DONT OVER RATE ANY PLAYER, THANK GOD, OUR MEDIA WORLD IS TINY.

BTW, winning at home isnt winning at all.

-SL fan

Posted by mukesh2147 on (April 3, 2012, 18:13 GMT)

dont send him out of the sub continent.he is bradman only in sri lanka.but outside the sub continent ravichandran ashwin and harbajan singh were better than mj.

Posted by Shazzada on (April 3, 2012, 17:50 GMT)

No Doubt He is the best SRI LANKAN batsmen so far in their cricketing history both as per stats and as per Class....Lovely to watch playesrs like Yousaf/Ponting/Mahela/Dravid/Kallis and Vaughan

Posted by johnathonjosephs on (April 3, 2012, 17:39 GMT)

Mahela has an average outside the subcontinent of around 32-33. People say that he inflates his averages by playing in the subcontinent where it is flat. People also say that the subcontinent gives way too many spin friendly tracks. It can not both be flat and spin conducive. For example, in this match so far, 5 of the 6 wickets have been taken by fast bowlers and the ball is still moving around. The fact: subcontinent sometimes houses pitches where it is very hard to score runs on and Mahela has propsered on some of these wickets. There was an article published by cricinfo about percentage of runs scored in hard conditions and Mahela was in the top with something around 47-48% hard conditions and averaging 47-49 in those hard conditions. He is a great player and underrated to the better Sangakkara

Posted by r1m2 on (April 3, 2012, 17:38 GMT)

WOW really??? This is among the worst ever assessment of a batsman ever made in CI!

Jayawardene vs England in England: http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/player/49289.html?class=1;home_or_away=2;opposition=1;template=results;type=allround

Jayawardene vs England in Sri Lanka: http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/player/49289.html?class=1;home_or_away=1;opposition=1;template=results;type=allround

A difference in the average of 60 runs!!!

I do not know of another contemporary batsman, with more skewed statistic than his. After 130 tests, one cannot say that stats don't tell the whole story. In Jayawardene's case it not only tells the whole story, it writes a novel, and publishes itself, and becomes a best seller!!!

Most Sri Lankan batsmen in general are flat track bullies, but I don't know how many of the others are as bad outside Sri Lanka.

Posted by   on (April 3, 2012, 17:30 GMT)

He is simply awesome and a shame for us that he was not born in the UK.

Posted by mukesh_LOVE.cricket on (April 3, 2012, 17:22 GMT)

oh come on ! , i agree mahela's batting is a delight to watch and he is one of the best captains in modern cricket , even his statistics are impressive on the whole but just look at his averages in NZ , SA , England and Australia.. they are merely 'average'.. but yes he is among the best when it comes to playing spin , so i dont think he belongs to 'the very best' class , sorry.

Posted by jb633 on (April 3, 2012, 17:19 GMT)

Whilst MJ is batting beautifully atm the hype surronding him just goes to show how fickle and short sighted the media really are. In seaming conditions he looked all at sea, and I can distinctly remember him being called a flat track bully (not that i agree) and people saying he is an decaying force who does not have much time left in the game. I can remember the Aussie media jumping onto Michael Clark during the Ashes, when he scored runs at home he was the classy captain. English players ( KP, Bell) were rightly praised for terrifc years, but now the media are calling for their heads and exclaiming that they cannot play spin etc. The media rarely give a balanced view and are too damning when things go wrong. I cannot stand a hasty article that dismisses players too soon and do not at mitigating factors properly. It is comical to think that the media is jumping on the MJ bandwagon when 6 months ago they were calling for his head. I tend to ignore the media and I hope the players do 2

Posted by rakesh_1907 on (April 3, 2012, 17:09 GMT)

tremendous effort by mahela.dat was a very nasty phase n he responded superbly..runs r runs no matter u score in subcontinent or outside..

Posted by hstrawson on (April 3, 2012, 17:08 GMT)

there is no doubt that mahela is an outstanding batsmen, great even, at home in sri lanka but really, he is held back by a very mediocre record overseas. he averages 37 overseas with nine centuries and 63.9 in sri lanka with 22 centuries. now if england need to perform all over the world to be recognised universally as no1 and a great team, then surely mahela jayawardene must do the same to truly be considered as a great test batsmen?

Posted by ac_Indian on (April 3, 2012, 17:08 GMT)

He certainly is one of the best. A quintessential subcontinent batsman with elegant footwork, timing and wrist-work. He is one of those who make look batting very easy when in touch. Well played !

Posted by   on (April 3, 2012, 16:58 GMT)

Mahela is all class, the reason why he has a low average in Odi's is that in Sri Lanka the scores in Odi's have been relatively low to other countries, but at the top of the order even in Odi's he's superb

Posted by its.rachit on (April 3, 2012, 16:47 GMT)

the reason is simple and u said it ... 22 out of 30 hundreds at home ... an average of 20-30 in england, australia, south africa and new zealand ... that means u will only talk of mahela when sri lanka is hosting a test match ... on the other hand, sachin, dravid, kallis, ponting, lara have made a mark all over the world .. they may have underformed in 1 or 2 countries but they have nit underformed as badly as jayawardene outside home ... which is y sanga is way better then him ... and the rest even ahead of him ... he will be statistically equla to the best but the reality would always be different ...

Posted by   on (April 3, 2012, 16:27 GMT)

He is a great player, a true great. I rate him higher than all current batsmen on current form.

Posted by Herath-UK on (April 3, 2012, 16:27 GMT)

I quite agree anything less than a series win would not be fitting for Mahela in this terrific form. Ranil Herath-Kent

Posted by muski on (April 3, 2012, 16:26 GMT)

There is no doubt that Mahela is the greatest ever Lankan Batsman. However that does not mean he is not a FTB. He pales in comparision to our great wall who was more prolific away from home. Notwithstanding that, even to be a good FTB, you need to be a very hungry and Mahela has certainly devoured the POMS.

Posted by Aussasinator on (April 3, 2012, 16:19 GMT)

He's the best batsman in the world today. No doubts about it. Sheer class.

Posted by zico123 on (April 3, 2012, 16:16 GMT)

all the best Srilanka to hand England 2-0 whitewash, they don't deserve no. 1 ranking either

Posted by Ellis on (April 3, 2012, 16:03 GMT)

Mahela has never received the praise he deserves in the world media largely because there is no credible media voice on the world stage from Sri Lanka. There is nobody of relevance to blow the Sri Lankan horn unlike with India, England, Australia et al. Ponting and Kallis who are great batsmen have scored a very high percentage of Test hundreds at home. Yet, this same level of performance by Mahela is seen as a weakness. As indicated in the article, he is one of the best of his generation. Ceratainly the best all round batsmen produced by Sri Lanka.

Posted by StatisticsRocks on (April 3, 2012, 16:02 GMT)

Yes, Mahela is no doubt Srilanka's best batsmen so far in this series agnst ENG. To be considered among the best in the World one has to look at his performance agnst other teams both at home and abroad as most of his centuries have come while playing at home. Infact ~71% of his centuries have come at home.

Posted by Sinhaya on (April 3, 2012, 15:58 GMT)

Mahela you are simply amazing! Please post big scores when Pakistan play here in June and later when New Zealand play here in November. More than anything, target big scores when Sri Lanka play in Melbourne on Boxing Day and in Sydney on new year's eve!

Posted by WPDDESILVA on (April 3, 2012, 15:41 GMT)

Not only Mahela but a lot of Sri Lankans are underrated. Chaminda Vaas deserves much more praise, Kumar Sangakkara deserves even more. You can see how overrated some players are in this era! For a start Kevin Petersen, Andrew Flintoff!! When ever someone praise a Sri Lankan the first thing we here is about performance overseas. How can you expect us to perform overseas when we don't tour that often outside the sub continent? We tour australia once every 6 years, South Africa the same, England every 5 years!! How can you expect SL to perform?

Posted by AjitNarayan on (April 3, 2012, 15:40 GMT)

Jayawardene is class in all forms of the game. But is he WORLD class? I'm not so sure.

Posted by gladtobehere81 on (April 3, 2012, 15:38 GMT)

Ok. I dont want to run into controversy. Jayawardene is a great player, but I feel even he is more of a subcontinent player. Most of his centuries have come in subcontinent. Can someone correct me

Posted by   on (April 3, 2012, 15:35 GMT)

"batting-friendly subcontinent conditions" then why on earth english,aussie and s.african players hv such poor records here?..this a racist and pathetic phrase that English people use to insult Asian batsmen..If batting against fast bowlers is good same should go with scoring against spinners and the race/skin colour of the batsman should not affect that..I hope cricinfo will post this comment !

Posted by   on (April 3, 2012, 15:33 GMT)

Well done, Mahela! James Anderson can bowl on any wicket and get batsmen out, as we saw today. Hope Dilshan will use his feet more rather than swinging outside the off.

Posted by Akash_G on (April 3, 2012, 15:32 GMT)

I am a fan of Jayawardane but I dont agree to the statement "Mahela Jayawardene can comfortably sit among the best batsman of his generation " simply because of the later statement "Even with the fact that many of his runs have come in batting-friendly subcontinent conditions it remains a phenomenal record. " I love him the mental toughness he has, his world cup finals century was a memorable one! But still his record outside subcontinent doesnt do justice to the claims of him being among the bests.

Posted by Perera32 on (April 3, 2012, 15:31 GMT)

He is a brilliant player no doubt about that. Hope he does well in the 2nd Innings as well. I can't wait to see all the comments from Indian fans later on. They get so jealous when something good is said about Sri lankan Cricketers. 1.5 Billion Cricket crazy Indians and they can only find one good player, and that one good player took more than a year to get a 100, it was against Bangladesh on a flat pitch and they lost that match aswell.

Posted by   on (April 3, 2012, 15:26 GMT)

without a doubt..Sri Lankan pitches are so difficult to bat apart from SSC..14 out of his 16 ODI hundreds are out side Sri Lanka..infact 13 of them are out side subcontinent..10,000 in both formats..overrall 25 of his international 100s are out side Sri Lanka.but since Sri Lanka is a small country our media is not powerful enogh to boast about them like India does...he is good as dravid(way better than Laxman) & Sangakkara is better than Dravid..that is the truth but these players are unfairly underrated as we don`t have 1 billion to support them.

Posted by TheRedox on (April 3, 2012, 15:26 GMT)

Underrated?I thought he is in a well rated panel of greats in his era like Ponting,Sachin,Dravid and Lara.Sangakkara and Jayawardana are the greatest test batsmen SL ever produced and I wonder any English player has that kind of record in last 20 years.

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas_Atheist on (April 3, 2012, 15:25 GMT)

There's no doubt that Mahela is one of the greats of this generation. But he might want to improve his record overseas. His less than ideal record overseas doesn't make him any lesser player but that's an area he might want to improve on before he calls it a day. Good luck Mahi. Congrats on your twin centuries.

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Andrew McGlashanClose
Andrew McGlashan Assistant Editor Andrew arrived at ESPNcricinfo via Manchester and Cape Town, after finding the assistant editor at a weak moment as he watched England's batting collapse in the Newlands Test. Andrew began his cricket writing as a freelance covering Lancashire during 2004 when they were relegated in the County Championship. In fact, they were top of the table when he began reporting on them but things went dramatically downhill. He likes to let people know that he is a supporter of county cricket, a fact his colleagues will testify to and bemoan in equal quantities.
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