17 December 2014
A swansong at home to remember
Veterans combine to take final wicket in seventh ODI against England to sign off in style
Jayawardena and Sangakkara will leave the one-day arena after the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup.
Jayawadena first came on the ODI scene on January 24, 1998, in Colombo against Zimbabwe. Sangakkara made his debut two years later, on July 5, 2000, in Galle against Pakistan.
The send-off was perfect from start to finish. Sri Lanka won the toss and decided to bat first. Jayawardena chipped in with a 22-ball 28 while Sangakkara made 33 from 50 balls. Tillakaratne Dilshan's century and fifties from Dinesh Chandimal and Thisara Perera lifted the side to a lofty 302 for 6. Dilshan continued to be a thorn in England's flesh, picking up 3 for 37, while Seekuge Prasanna also grabbed three wickets. But the best was saved for last.
England was 205 for 9, with an improbable 98 needed from 42 balls, when Angelo Mathews, the Sri Lanka captain, decided to hand the ball to Jayawardena. One over of Jayawardena's offspin was negotiated by Harry Gurney and James Tredwell without much trouble, but Sri Lanka persisted with him for a second over. And in a moment of sheer providence, off the fifth ball, Tredwell decided to give Jayawardena the charge and missed. Sangakkara, who was behind the stumps, whipped off the bails in a flash to end the match in style.
Sangakkara is the second-highest run-getter for Sri Lanka in ODIs with 13,113 runs, after Sanath Jayasuriya. Jayawardena is third with 11,978 runs. Sangakkara, who has 91 half-centuries in ODIs, has a great chance to overtake Sachin Tendulkar's record of 96 ODI fifties during the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup.
Meanwhile, Jayawardena is the second-most capped player for Sri Lanka with 429 ODIs and is expected to overtake Jayasuriya's record of 441 matches by the time the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup ends.
World Cup race wide open: Border and Waugh
Around the wicket with: Rod Latham