Monday, June 08, 2009

Expect fireworks from wily Jayasuriya

In Australia's opening game at the Twenty20 World Championship it was Chris Gayle who put it to the sword, with the Windies skipper smashing 88 off just 50 balls to guide his side to a comfortable win.

When the Aussies take on Sri Lanka in Nottingham, they will come across another left-hand opening batsman who has a penchant for destruction.

In what is most likely his last major tournament, Sanath Jayasuriya will be keen to go out with a bang.

The pocket-sized thrashing machine will turn 40 just nine days after the new T20 World Champions are crowned at Lord's.

As the sun sets on his career, he and his team-mates will be hoping for just a few more of those powerhouse innings for which he has become renowned.

A former skipper of Sri Lanka, he holds the world record for most appearances in 50-over internationals, a staggering 432 matches.

His one-day debut came against Australia at the MCG on Boxing Day 1989.

Since then he's amassed over 13,000 runs and 28 centuries - second only to Sachin Tendulkar on both counts.

But one area where he shades the Indian maestro is his strike rate - 91 to 86.

In the top 30 run-scorers in ODI history, only Adam Gilchrist (97) betters Jayasuriya's scoring rate.

One of the most common sights at the start of a Sri Lankan innings is the absence of a fine leg when Jayasuriya is on strike.

His propensity to carve anything outside off-stump through or over point usually results in opposing skippers starting the innings with a man on the fence square on the off-side, along with a squarish third man.

That signature shot has brought him countless boundaries and more than its fair share of sixes.

Ricky Ponting will be very aware of Jayasuriya's potential to get his team off to a flying start, although there is a chance he may bat down the order.

Either way, you can expect fireworks from the first ball he faces.

And if he's at the crease during the first six overs, you can guarantee he'll be eyeing the boundary from ball one.

Source : ABC News

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