Jaya­suriya walks away in whim­per

Shanghai Daily - - SPORTS -

BACK at the scene of his great­est test in­nings, Sanath Jaya­suriya couldn’t bring the cur­tain down on his glo­ri­ous in­ter­na­tional ca­reer with the type of swash­buck­ing dis­play that char­ac­ter­ized his 22 years as a Sri Lanka player.

Two days be­fore his 42nd birth­day, Jaya­suriya re­turned to The Oval in south­west Lon­don to play the fi­nal match of his ca­reer — a one- dayer against Eng­land.

It was the ground where the 1996 World Cup-win­ning opener claims he struck his best knock — an ex­trav­a­gant 213 in a test against Eng­land in 1998.

Thir­teen years later, how­ever, the crick­eter-turned-politi­cian mus­tered only 2 runs from four balls be­fore he was caught by Eoin Mor­gan as he scythed a cut off the bowl­ing of Tim Bres­nan.

Eng­land thumped the visi­tors by 110 runs with pace bowler James An­der­son do­ing much of the dam­age.

Play­ing in his 445th ODI, Jaya­suriya was given a stand­ing ova­tion as he de­parted, bit­ing his hel­met strap­ping in dis­ap­point­ment. Or, maybe, to hold back the tears.

He had ear­lier taken one wicket from six overs of bowl­ing, trap­ping Ian Bell lbw to fin­ish with fig­ures of 1- 46.

It was hardly the way he would have liked to go but Jaya­suriya could be con­sid­ered for­tu­nate to have been given an­other chance out in the mid­dle.

He be­came the MP for the Sri Lankan town of Matara last year and his ca­reer was con­sid­ered as good as over when he failed to make Sri Lanka’s World Cup squad for the tour­na­ment on home soil, and then was un­able to se­cure a con­tract with a fran­chise in this year’s IPL.

Yet, some­what con­tro­ver­sially, he was given a chance to end his ca­reer with a two-match salvo in the team’s cur­rent tour of Eng­land. He played in the Twenty20 at Bris­tol on Satur­day, get­ting out for 8. His last ODI for Sri Lanka was in De­cem­ber 2009. The most re­cent of his 110 tests was in 2007.

At The Oval, he was un­able to add to his haul of 1,500 fours and 270 sixes in his ODI ca­reer, scor­ing 13,430 runs at an av­er­age of more than 32. More than half of his ODI runs came from fours and sixes.

Sri Lanka’s Sanath Jaya­suriya waves to fans af­ter be­ing dis­missed in the first ODI against Eng­land in Lon­don on Tues­day. — Reuters

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