Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Selectors ask Sanath Jayasuriya to resume his Test career ?

Colombo: As they do a careful stocktaking exercise after their successful Asia Cup defence, Sri Lanka's selectors may want to do a rethink and ask Sanath Jayasuriya to resume his Test career.

It is just a thought after the victory by 100 runs over India in the final at the Karachi National Stadium on Sunday. After all, there is a Test series looming with India in Sri Lanka later this month and the way Jayasuriya, aka the Matara Mauler, executed his 27th limited overs century, explains much about his dazzling talents.

While all the media hype is currently about so-called finger spinner Ajantha Mendis and how he won the match with his six wickets, it should be remembered that Sri Lanka need a total to defend.

With an innings sagging at 66-4 and the previous two batsmen harassed by Indian bowling and fielding tactics, it needed experience and above all a careful batting strategy to get the innings back in motion. After all, he has been in this position before and has squeezed a defendable total out of a wasteland caused by carelessness.

Those who have watched Jayasuriya for more than a decade can tell the signs. When he takes a look around the field and gives that boyish grin, beware. The bowlers are in trouble as it is time for the big carve up.

Maybe now, after this expressive example of his batting talents in Karachi, the talk of how at the age of 39 he is perhaps beyond the shelf-life of an international star. They forget that here is a man who eight years ago almost scored a century before lunch on the opening day of a Test in Galle.

He was robbed of that impressive rare record, as it were, because the Matara Mauler and Marvan Atapattu, his opening partner, were unaware of records. The point here is whether he is 31 or 39, his ability to carve out an innings that creates pressure on the bowlers is where Sri Lanka are still in need of him.

In Karachi he scored 125 of 114 balls – the first 50 was off 43 balls and the second to reach the century in just 36 balls. And the way he handled RP Singh is something the bowler needs to remember. You cannot bowl width to the Matara Mauler.

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