About 11,500 runs and counting, a better than good average hovering around 50, a veteran of 146 tests and counting and not to forget the holder of a number of records, Mahela Jayawardene is a Sri Lankan legend.
With a lazy elegance which is rarely found in this age of T20 cricket, Jayawardene, along with Sangakkara, is a true gem from the Island and one of the last remaining members of the revolutionary Sri Lankan team that changed the way cricket was played. At the ripe age of 37, Mahela Jayawardene has decided to hang up his boots, and call it a day as far as tests are concerned.
But sometimes, the inside numbers reveal more truth than the overall picture, and the same can be said in the case of Mahela Jayawardene.
Jayawardene’s record away from home has been his Achilles heel and deeper digging reveals his record away is nothing short of abysmal, considering the influence he had over the Sri Lankan Cricket and the records he has been involved in.
Here’s a little sneak-peak into Jayawardene’s home and away numbers:
- 23 out of his 34 centuries have come at home
- Out of the remaining 11, five of them have come in the subcontinent, one each in India, UAE, Pakistan, and two in Bangladesh. This means only 6 out of his 34 centuries have come outside the subcontinent.
- Centuries outside the subcontinent:
South Africa: ZERO
WEST INDIES: ONE
NEW ZEALAND: ONE
- He has scored heavily against Bangladesh, England( 6 out of 8 centuries at home), South Africa(mainly at home), and India. He has perennially struggled against teams having quality bowling attacks like Australia( average of 33 in 16 tests, both home and away) and Pakistan (Average of 32 in 27 tests, both home and away).
These numbers indicate how dominant he has been in home conditions, and how he has struggled outside the subcontinent.
Both Sangakkara and Jayawardene have been hailed as minnow bashers by many critics, but the former’s performance away in the recent couple of years has taken his status a notch above his fellow peers and has been consistently compared with test greats like Lara and Dravid.
But the same cannot be said about Mahela. Although, he has scored around 11,500 runs, his stats clearly suggest that he has been heavily relying on home advantage to score runs. Moreover, he has been particularly fierce against England at home, when England’s lack of quality spinner was heavily exposed, and at the same time, failed against Australia even at home, citing to the presence of the deadly duo of Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath, who tormented batsmen even in the flattest of pitches.
This article is not meant to undermine the Legend of Mahela. He has been one of the most influential cricketers produced by the Island nation. Jayawardene has been responsible for some famous victories of the country, even from the back lines. But when comparing his stats with tests greats and even his compatriot, Sangakkara, it would be fair to say that he been a “flat-track bully.”
by Kaushik Naryanan