West Indies v Sri Lanka, World T20, Group F, Barbados May 7, 2010

Jayawardene enjoys time at the top

Cricinfo staff

Mahela Jayawardene is showing the world that an orthodox approach can be wildly successful in Twenty20. Jayawardene has scored 279 runs at 139.50 in Sri Lanka's first three games and his unbeaten 98 off 56 balls was responsible for a heavy Super Eight defeat of West Indies on Friday.

While most batsmen try to muscle every shot in Twenty20, Jayawardene has been able to succeed with a more traditional approach and still own a strike-rate of 163.15. "I haven't changed a lot but, having said that, I am playing a few more different shots than I am used to in one-day or Test cricket because of different tactics," Jayawardene said after the win. "You tend to analyse and see what works for you and what doesn't."

Jayawardene, 32, is also showing you don't have to be a young shot-maker to excel. "I am enjoying it," he said of opening the batting. "For me it was about me pushing myself with my technique and ability to see how it would suit for me to play T20 cricket.

"Batting in the middle was a challenge, I adapted and I did different things but I think opening the batting has given me much more freedom to go out and express myself - guys need to find that."

Trevor Bayliss, the coach, praised Jayawardene's mature approach, which will be on display again on Sunday when his side plays Australia. "Opening in the 20-over game is really one of the only spots you can make a big score from," Bayliss said. "We have got a guy [Jayawardene] here who is used to making big scores, knows how to go about making big scores, not only in the shorter version but in Test matches as well."

Jayawardene narrowly missed becoming the first batsman to score two Twenty20 international centuries after giving away the strike to his fresher team-mates in the final overs. "At that point I couldn't even get the ball out of the 30-yard circle I was that tired," he said. "I wasn't focused on the hundred but on getting as many runs as we could."

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  • ArunChennai on May 8, 2010, 17:33 GMT

    @Fathima Farzana Saval - Yes, India has some real good players too, but we can always use someone like Jayawardene.. He is such a classy batsman and a treat to watch in all forms of the game.. Godspeed to SL, they really have a good chance to make it into semis after their big win against WI. Although I am an Indian team first and foremost, I like SL team too as they have got players like Jayawardene, Sanga, the old horse Jayasuriya, Malinga and Murali. Great team!

  • Cannuck on May 8, 2010, 15:29 GMT

    Completely agree with lionscricket, TheUglyTruth & others who KNOW that Sana is done & should be dropped. The problem is Sana is too greedy, & wants relive the old glory days of being hero. Yes he is the most destructive, SL has ever produced in the short form, but no one can go against father time! As long and fans like RanilDeSIlva are there, hoping he'll catch lightening any day now, & political batting, SL has no chance to improve the team. To say the opposition is under pressure when Sana is in the team (NOW), is paying no respect to the other teams. They know he is slow, his weak spots & WI capitalized well, & he gave dolly of a catch, to a ball he'd have discarded to the stand few years ago. I also heard from the grapevine that Sana had quit after the ZIM match because he didn't like coming so down the order, but SL cricket had refused & he was sent to open. IF this is true, it's the perfect recipe for disaster & disunity in the team which will effect performance! Hope it's NOT!

  • dummy4fb on May 8, 2010, 14:11 GMT

    Well done Mahela!! All the best with rest of the matches!!

  • TheUglyTruth on May 8, 2010, 11:54 GMT

    @lionscricket - I agree with ur team combination except no 8 slot. I dnt think it shud b either randiv or kulasekera but Dilhara!!! He showed good form in the ipl and on a barbados track, he would compliment malinga well. Randiv should only have a spot if Murali isnt playin. But i agree bout chandimal coming instead of Sanath. I mean srsly, my grandma has better hand eye coordination tht sana has right now! Dnt get me wrong, Sana was our hero for years but enough is enough. He should kno when to retire.

  • not-fan-but-fanatic on May 8, 2010, 11:19 GMT

    its hard to accept the truth.but tis time that SL understand its the end of things for sanath jayasurya.....i think its jus fooling around on the pretext that he is played for as a spinner.....also i think dilshan should be in the top...and with sanka and jayawardane firing ,dilshan can chip around to get his touch....

  • YohanJ on May 8, 2010, 9:55 GMT

    I think so far we have sone well only thing to worry is our bawlling department though we won yesterday our bawlling is not up to the standards. Yeah I think next time Dilshan open with Jayawardena . If we play mindfully we can win all other matches easily .. All the Best Lankans

  • RanilDeSIlva on May 8, 2010, 9:48 GMT

    Lionscricket and others, pls note that having Sana in the team itself creates presure on the opposition.. he is like a sleeping Lion raring to go at any second..a nd hopefully he will sooner than later.. he is geeting used to it.. I beleive the format SL team is merely looking now is to Sana and Mahela open and if Sana gets out, Sanga gets in and if Mahel gets out (Which is not hapenning) Dilshan gets in.. This is IDEAl as the top 4 guys are very capable of getting big rungs very fast.. yesterday Kapu, came in as he is the only other inform batsman (I beleive all had followed the warm up games and Kapu was the only big scorer there)./ this combination is good. Onething i love about Kulasekara is he looks very average in his aprocah and bowloing but bhe just delivers the biggest wicket all the time and even with that expensive last over, he was still the most accurate one yesterday..this combination is the best and should not chnage unless we have any injury...

  • cricket_fan_1980 on May 8, 2010, 9:47 GMT

    Mahela is one of the best batsmen of the current crop out there. He is mesmerising to watch. He has shown Pakistan for example, how unwise it was to make a fuss and drop people with the class, calibre and experience of Younis and Yusuf. Mahela shows that experience, tact, presence of mind, and good oldschool shot making can be as effective and destructive in T20 as can Pollard swinging the bat around, if not more destructive!! Mahela is a class act. I wish we had someone like him in the PK cricket team.

  • dummy4fb on May 8, 2010, 9:24 GMT

    @ArunChennai I am sri lankan but im so fond of INDIA...u hav gt good players as much as we do..its just the good and bad times...india has always been my second fav team.. :)

  • lionscricket on May 8, 2010, 8:47 GMT

    pls drop sanath and try to give chandimal a spot, if sanath just gonna play as a spinner use randiv he is a better bowler and a fielder! im sure dilshan will play better in barbados as there s more pace and bounce! 1 Mahela 2 Dilshan 3 Sanga 4 Chandimal 5 Kapu 6 mathews 7 tisara 8 randiv/kulasekara 9 malinga 10 murali 11 mendis is a pretty good combination. bats down to # 8 and can go with a 4 seamer 3 spinners ( including dilashan) or 3 seamer 4 spinners (including dilshan) combination depending on the conditions. sanath looked lost at the short stay today and he has been like that for a long time now. his only bating strength LEFT is hitting over the infield at the start of an inning since he is incapable of doing it with his current form there s no other use for him in the team. ( considering there is a much better spinner sitting out in the bench ).

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