Jayawardene charms the crowd
Only one other batsman in the top six touched double digits; it said much about the pitch and the form of the other batsmen but most importantly it highlighted Mahela Jayawardene's mastery on a slow and low pitch.
There wasn't a single shot in violence from Jayawardene. Not one looked ugly. Not for a moment did he look hurried. And yet, his strike-rate was over 150. It was such a graceful knock that it stood out amid the violence that this format usually brings in batsmen. Perhaps it's his economy of movement and the languid flow of his bat that catches the eye. The experts reckoned the pitch would make hitting on the up a difficult task, that the ball would stop on the batsmen, that timing would be difficult to find. And it appeared so when the likes of Kumar Sangakkara and the rest batted. Not when Jayawardene took strike.
There was a six hit on the up over extra cover that was a perfect advertisement for Jayawardene's skill. He was walking down the track to the medium pace of Elton Chigumbura but kept his head still and balance perfect. Chigumbura shortened his length to try and upset the balance but Jayawardene swung his bat through the line and the ball soared over the extra-cover boundary.
Jayawardene flowed right from the start today, collecting three boundaries in the first over from Chris Mfou: A cut, an on-the-up six over long off and a whiplash on-drive. He repeatedly drove the seamers through the off side, there was even a deft upper cut to a slow bouncer from Elton Chigumbura, but he treated the spinners with more respect. He looked for opportunities to unfurl his cuts and sweeps against the slow men and rotated the strike with wristy nudges. He slog-swept and pulled Price for boundaries, slog swept Graeme Cremer for a six, late cut and swatted Greg Lamb to the boundary.