Denagamage Praboth Mahela de Silva Jayawardene was born on 27 May 1977 in Colombo, Sri Lanka, known as Mahela Jayawardene, is a former captain of the Sri Lankan cricket team. He is a specialist batsman.
Jayawardene made his Test debut in 1997 and his One Day International (ODI) debut the following season. In 2006 he made the highest ever score by a Sri Lankan in Test cricket, scoring 374 in the second Test of Sri Lanka’s home series against South Africa. He has a Test average of over 50 and an ODI average in the 30s. He is the first player in the history of Sri Lankan cricket to score over 10,000 Test runs. Despite his relatively low ODI average, Jayawardene is considered to be one of the best batsmen produced by Sri Lanka and is generally held in high regard as a legend of the modern game along with team-mate Kumar Sangakkara. He is one of only three Sri Lankans—the others being Sanath Jayasuriya and Kumar Sangakkara—to have scored more than 10,000 runs in ODIs.
In 2006, Jayawardene was named by the International Cricket Council as the best international captain of the year and he was nominated in 2007 as the best Test cricket player of the year. He is also known for his fielding skills in the inner ring, with a report prepared by Cricinfo in late 2005 showing that since the 1999 Cricket World Cup, he had effected the most number of run-outs in ODI cricket of any fieldsman, with the fifth highest run-out/match ratio in ODI’s. Statistics also reveal that c Jayawardene b Muralitharan is the most common bowler-fielder combination in the history of Test cricket.
Jayawardene led Sri Lanka to Pakistan for a Test series in March–April 2009. The series was conducted after the Indian team withdrew from playing in Pakistan, following the November 2008 Mumbai attacks. The first Test ended in a draw. Even though he scored a double century in the first Test, Jayawardene was to resign from captaincy after the second Test in the series. Sri Lanka was in a good position in the Test with Thilan Samaraweera hitting his second successive double hundred of the series and Tillakaratne Dilshan scoring a century. On their way to the Gaddafi Stadium for the third day’s play, the bus that carried the Sri Lankan players was fired at by 12 masked gunmen. Jayawardene, along with six other Sri Lankan cricketers sustained injuries. Six policemen that guarded the bus and two civilians were killed in the attack. He resigned from vice-captaincy after 2011 world cup defeat. He was appointed as captain again after controversial Tillakaratne Dilshan’s captaincy. He was the captain of Kochi Tuskers Kerala in the Indian Premier League. He now plays for Delhi Daredevils as captain.
Jayawardene was educated at one of the leading schools in Sri Lanka, Nalanda College Colombo. At early age Mahela’s father, Mr Senerath Jayawardene introduced him to Lionel Mendis Coaching Clinic run by Nondescripts Cricket Club in Cinnamon Gardens. It was there that he learned to play cricket. Mahel captained Nalanda College Colombo first XI cricket team in 1994. He developed his talents through the school cricket team, eventually becoming captain. He was runner-up for the best schoolboy cricketer award during the 1994 cricketing season.
Domestically he has played for Sinhalese Sports Club since 1995. He was signed to play as an overseas player for Derbyshire for the first half of the 2008 English cricket season. However, his commitments to Sri Lanka and involvement in the Indian Premier League prevented him from playing any part in the 2008 county season.
Mahela Jayawardene is the 69th Sri Lanka Test Cap. Jayawardene made his Test debut in the record breaking Test in 1997 against India at R.P.S., Colombo. Jayawardene added 66 to Sri Lanka’s first innings score of 952/6, the highest Test score ever. He was at the crease when the previous highest Test score was surpassed. Early in his career he scored 167 against New Zealand and 242 against India.
Jayawardene’s One Day International debut was against Zimbabwe at Premadasa in January 1998. Sri Lanka won the match, with Jayawardene hitting the winning run. In the next game Jayawardene scored 74. It took only 11 matches before he scored his first century, which was against England in the Carlton and United World Series game at Adelaide. Jayawardene entered a pressure situation, with Sri Lanka struggling at 134/4 in the run chase, but made an innings of 120 runs to win the match. The match is notable for Ross Emerson’s no-balling of Muttiah Muralitharan for throwing, which led the Sri Lankan captain Arjuna Ranatunga to lead his team to the edge of the field and consider walking out of the match, as well as physical shoulder-barging by some players.
Jayawardene was captain during the England tour in 2006 in the absence of Marvan Atapattu. He led his team to 1–1 draw in the Test series and an emphatic whitewash (5–0) in the ODI series.
In the first Test of the 2006 Test series against South Africa, Jayawardene shared a world record stand of 624 with Kumar Sangakkara. This partnership, the highest for any wicket in first-class cricket history, and the first instance of a stand of 600 or more in a first-class or Test match innings, smashed the previous third wicket stance for Sri Lanka, surpassing 262 which involved himself along with Thilan Samaraweera. It also broke the previous record for the third wicket for all Test playing nations surpassing the 467 run partnership made by the New Zealand’s Martin Crowe and Andrew Jones.
Jayawardene became the first Sri-Lankan captain to score a Test triple-century, making 374 off 572 deliveries with 43 fours and 1 six, the fourth highest individual score in Test match cricket and the best by a right-hander. He is also the first batsman to pass 350 in a Test without going on to break the world record. He also surpassed the highest score by a Sri Lankan in a Test match, previously Sanath Jayasuriya’s 340 in 1997 against India, coincidentally also produced in a world record partnership.
He was also chosen as a Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 2007. In the 2007 Cricket World Cup, Jayawardene hit one century and four half-centuries and was the second highest run-scorer in the list topped by Australia’s Matthew Hayden. His century, which came against New Zealand helped Sri Lanka win the Semi-Final. Sri Lanka finished runners-up in the World Cup losing to Australia in the Final.
He has scored centuries against all Test-playing nations. He achieved this feat on the 21 st of February 2009 by scoring his maiden Test century against Pakistan at the National Stadium in Karachi, Pakistan.
Mahela is the Recipient of International Cricket Council’s “Captain of the Year 2006″ inaugural award, Captain of the “World One-Day International Team of the Year 2006″, Captain of the “Spirit of Cricket Award 2007″ Team, Wisden Cricketer of the Year 2007, Record holder for the highest score (374 runs) by a Sri Lankan in Test cricket. He retired from the captaincy due to lack of form and politics in the board.
However, he regained some form during the IPL 2010. Before starting their chase of 201 runs against Kolkata Knight Riders, Jayawardene expressed his desire to open the innings to captain Kumar Sangakara. Sangakkara agreed to his fellow countrymate and Jayawardene scored a blazing 110* off just 59 balls winning them the match in the second last over. Sangakkara, impressed my his teammate set him as opener for the Kings XI Punjab. He scored a few more entertaining knocks in vain including 44 against Rajasthan Royals and 93* against Deccan Chargers. He ended the tournament with an average of 43.90. He was the 6th highest run scorer for the tournament and highest for the Kings XI Punjab.
With Kumar Sangakkara as the Sri Lankan Captain too, Jaywardene was sent as opener for the 2010 ICC World Twenty20. In the first match against New Zealand, he scored 81 off just 51 balls. However, this knock went in vain due to the collapse in the Sri Lankan batting line-up after his wicket fell which resulted in a total of only 135 on board batting first. However, in his very next match against Zimbabwe, he scored 100 of just 64 balls helping them win the match helping them win the match defending a total of 173. He thus became the 4th player to get a century in an International Twenty20 Game and the first Sri Lankan to do so. Sri Lanka won the match by D/L method. In the very next match against West Indies, he scored 98* off just 56 balls narrowly missing his second century in a row. This became his third consecutive score above 80.
During the second Test of Sri Lanka’s tour of South Africa in 2011–12, Jayawardene became the ninth player in cricket history, and the first Sri Lankan, to score 10,000 Test runs. At the end of the tour he was reappointed as Sri Lanka’s captain, following the resignation of Tillakaratne Dilshan.
Jayawardene led Sri Lanka to the final of the 2012 World Twenty20 against West Indies on home turf. Having restricted the Windies to 137/6, Sri Lanka were steadily making progress in chasing down the target with Jayawardene well set. Halfway through their innings, captain Jayawardene noticed that the West Indies were slightly ahead on Duckworth/Lewis with a hint of rain in the air. He subsequently panicked and triggered a collapse as the rain never came and Sri Lanka fell a long way short of the target. He resigned as Sri Lanka’s T20 captain after the match.
He has 22 centuries in Sri Lanka.
Mahela was born to Sunila and Senerath Jayawardene at Colombo in 1977. He had one younger brother, Dhishal who died of a brain tumour, aged 16. This affected Jayawardene psychologically, halting his cricket career for some time. Eventually he was persuaded to go on and set about rebuilding his career by his parents and teammates.
He is married to Christina Mallika Sirisena, a travel consultant.
Off the field, he has won praise for his personal contribution to the HOPE cancer project. With memories of Dhishal in mind, he became the leading campaigner of HOPE. Now, with the support of his team-mates, he aims to build a new 750-bed cancer unit at Maharagama, the country’s only dedicated cancer hospital.