Denagamage Praboth Mahela de Silva Jayawardene born 27 May 1977), known as Mahela Jayawardene, is a former Sri Lankan cricketer and captain of the Sri Lankan cricket team. He is regarded as one of the modern greats of batsmanship, specially due to his mastery of playing spin bowling. Jayawardene’s highest test score, 374 against South Africa is the highest test score by a right handed batsman in the history of test cricket It is also regarded as the highest absolutely chance-less innings by a batsman in test cricket history.
Jayawardene made his Test cricket 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 cricket average of over 50 and a One Day 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.
Early and domestic career
Jayawardene was educated at one of the most prestigious schools of Sri Lanka, Nalanda College Colombo. At an early age Mahela’s father, Senerath Jayawardene, introduced him to the Lionel Coaching Clinic run by Nondescripts Cricket Club in Cinnamon Gardens. It was there that he learned to play cricket. Jayawardene 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
He is one of only four Sri Lankans—the others being Sanath Jayasuriya, Kumar Sangakkara and Tillakaratne Dilshan—to have the prestigious record of having scored more than 10,000 runs in ODIs. Along with teammate Sangakkara, he recorded for the most partnership runs for the 3rd wicket in Tests, scoring 5890 runs surpassing 5826 run stand of Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar, during the first test match against Pakistan at Galle International Stadium, which was his last test at the venue. He scored 56 runs at that match, where his counterpart scored 221 runs.
Jayawardene was a key member of the team that won the 2014 ICC World Twenty20 and was part of the team that made to the final of 2007 Cricket World Cup, 2011 Cricket World Cup, 2009 ICC World Twenty20 and 2012 ICC World Twenty20.
Jayawardene 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.
Jayawardene is married to Christina Mallika Sirisena, a travel consultant. They have a daughter.
In 2006, Jayawardene was named by the International Cricket Council as the best international captain of the year and 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 affected 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 also worked as an international TV commentator in the first test at Headingley on 19 May 2016 between England and Sri Lanka.