For a player who batted with an abandon which suggested he cared little for numbers, the 78 runs Sanath Jayasuriya's scored in his last Test innings helped him achieve an important statistical milestone - it ensured he finished his career with an average of more than 40. Going into that knock, Jayasuriya's average had dropped to 39.86, the first time in nearly six years that it had slipped below 40 (click here for his cumulative career averages). His swansong innings means Jayasuriya will remain one of 43 batsmen to score over 6000 Test runs and average more than 40.
He started off batting at No.6 and 7 in his first 20 innings, but Jayasuriya has done remarkably well with bat in hand. His 6973 runs is the highest by a Sri Lankan in Tests, while only Mahela Jayawardene has more 50-plus scores than Jayasuriya's 45.
As the table below shows, Jayasuriya's career as a batsman took a while to soar: in his first 20 Tests he averaged less than 34, with just one century. In his next 20 games, though, Jayasuriya rose to terrific heights, scoring 1789 runs at a superb average of 52.62, including knocks of 340 against India - which remained his highest Test score - and 213 glorious, match-winning runs against England at The Oval a year later. His form dipped slightly thereafter, but the average still remained on the right side of 40 through most of his career.
With his unorthodox and aggressive approach to batting, few would have given him much chance at the top of the order against the new ball, but Jayasuriya did an excellent job as an opener, finishing with 5932 runs at an average of more than 41. In fact, only nine openers have scored more in Tests.
Jayasuriya's approach to batting and the position at which he batted meant he had a fair share of low scores - out of the 188 innings in which he batted, exactly 50% of the time he scored 20 or fewer runs, which indicates he often failed to get starts. However, his three 200-plus innings also indicates his ability to go on and register big scores once he got his eye in.
The table below indicates he clearly liked playing the subcontinent teams and Zimbabwe more than others. Against Australia, England, New Zealand, South Africa and West Indies he scored just four hundreds in 65 Tests; against the other four teams he scored ten in 45.
Jayasuriya's decision to retire from Tests comes just days after Marvan Atapattu decided to quit international cricket, which means Sri Lanka have suddenly lost a couple of batsmen who scored more than 12,000 Test runs between them, and more than 4500 runs when they were at the crease together. As a batting pair, they are fifth in the all-time list of highest run-getters, with 33 fifty-plus partnerships from 122 innings.
For a batsman known for his attacking instincts, Jayasuriya hit surprisingly few sixes in his Test career - just 59 in 110 matches. Twelve batsmen have hit more sixes, including, quite surprisingly, Jacques Kallis, who has 62 from 111 Tests. In his last innings, though, Jayasuriya did ensure that he made it into the record books when he thrashed James Anderson for six fours in an over.
Jayasuriya's contribution to the team was much more than only the runs he scored, though. He also led his team to 18 wins in the 38 games he captained, while his left-arm spin offered a more-than-handy bowling option. His decision to retire, though, means he missed out on the milestone of 100 Test wickets. His dismissal of Ravindra Bopara took his career tally to 98, and left him just two short of becoming the third cricketer - after Garry Sobers and Jacques Kallis - to achieve the double of 6000 runs and 100 wickets in Tests.