Players come and go, but the game continues: Mahela Jayawardene

Aug 19, 2014, 08:09 IST | Agencies

Batsman bids adieu to Test cricket as Sri Lanka rout Pakistan by 105 runs to win series 2-0

Colombo: An emotional Mahela Jayawardene ended his glittering, 17-year Test career on a high Monday as Sri Lanka won the second and final Test against Pakistan by 105 runs.

Jayawardene yesterday said a “gut feeling” prompted him to quit Test cricket as he turned his attention to one last World Cup campaign after near-misses in 2007 and 2011.

Teammates Chanaka Welegedara (left) and Dhammika Prasad (right) lift Mahela Jayawardene on their shoulders as the batting great bid adieu to Test cricket yesterday. Pics/AFP

Jayawardene bowed out after Sri Lanka sealed a 2-0 Test series win over Pakistan. “Players come and go, but the game continues,” the 37-year-old said, after ending a 17-year Test career in which he became one of the great batsmen of modern times.

Fitting farewell
Jayawardene was hoisted onto his teammates’ shoulders and warmly congratulated by Sri Lanka’s president after ending his Test career at Colombo’s Sinhalese Sports Club Stadium. Pakistan, who resumed their second innings at 127-7 chasing a target of 271, were shot out for 165 before lunch on the fifth day.

Speaking at the post-match presentation, Jayawardene, who will continue to play one-day international cricket until after next year’s World Cup, said: “I don’t know what to say, but I promise I won’t cry.

“I love you all. Thank you so much for the support all these years.

“I still have a little bit left and I promise I’ll give it my all for the World Cup.

“Thanks also to my teammates. It’s been great to play for Sri Lanka for so many years. I have always worn this cap with pride and passion.” Jayawardene added that he felt he had quit at the right time despite still showing good form with the bat. “I took the decision to retire after a lot of serious thought.

‘Right time to retire’
“I think the time was right to go. It was a gut feeling and I have always gone by my gut feelings in the past.

“We do not have many Tests for a year now. I have played enough and it is time for the younger players to take over.

“I have very pleasant memories of my career. I enjoyed this phase of my life, I learnt a lot and good things entered my life. I cherish every moment of it,” he said.

Jayawardene finished with 11,814 runs in 149 Tests with 34 centuries. Jayawardene said retiring one Test short of his 150th appearance did not matter to him.

Mahela Jayawardene with his wife Christina Sirisena and daughter Sansana at the Sinhalese Sports Club in Colombo yesterday

Mahela factfile
>> Mahela Jayawardene captained Sri Lanka in 38 Tests, winning 18, losing 12 with 8 drawn.

>> Jayawardene is one of only five batsmen — the others being Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting, Jacques Kallis and Kumar Sangakkara — to score more than 11,000 runs in both Test and one-day cricket.

>> Jayawardene and Sangakkara hold the record for the highest partnership in Test cricket — 624 for the third wicket against South Africa in Colombo in 2006. Jayawardene scored 374 and Sangakkara made 287.

>> His 205 Test catches are second only to Indian Rahul Dravid’s tally of 210 by a fielder other than a wicketkeeper.

>> His 2,921 runs in 27 Tests at the Sinhalese Sports Club in Colombo are the most by any batsman at a single ground. He averaged 74.89 at the ground with 11 centuries.

Jayawardene in tests...

Matches Runs Highest Average 100s 50s
   149   11814   374    49.84      34   50

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