Cricket

Sri Lanka give perfect T20 send off to two of their best players

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Sri Lanka's victory over India in the Twenty20 final on Sunday in Dhaka not only ended their losing streak in World finals but it also gave two of their greatest ever players - Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara - a fitting send off as they bid goodbye to the shorter format of the game.

Both players have given Sri Lankan cricket great service over the years in all formats and will be greatly missed once they decide to hang up their boots for good - something which could happen sooner rather than later.

Each player has represented their country 55 times in T20 internationals. Jayawardene scored 1,493 runs with a strike rate of 133 and Sangakkara ended his career with 1,330 runs with a strike rate of 118.

The highlight of both player's T20 careers had to be the victory on Sunday and Sangakkara's match-winning innings of 52 not out from just 35 balls has to be his most crucial in a T20 game for his country.

When people in the game talk about true greats they very rarely talk about these two batsmen. Indeed, Sri Lanka's batsmen are very often perceived as players who score a lot of runs on flat-home pitches.

This misnomer doesn't give both Sangakkara and Jayawardene the credit they deserve. They are fine batsmen who are capable of scoring runs in any country, against any bowling attack and on any type of surface.

Sangakkara became the fastest player to reach 11,000 Test runs earlier this year and has one of the best ever batting averages - averaging over 58. His average is higher than greats such as Ricky Ponting, Sachin Tendulkar, Jacques Kallis and Brian Lara.

In his 122 Test matches, Kumar has scored centuries against all Test playing nations and has scored a total of 35 centuries and 45 fifties. As well as a fantastic Test record, Sangakkara has
also scored over 12,000 One Day International runs as well as scoring 18 centuries. Let's not also forget that he has been a more than capable wicket-keeper as well.

Jayawardene has also had a fantastic career. In 143 Test matches, he has scored over 11,000 runs with 33 centuries, 45 fifties and an average in excess of 50. His ODI record is also comparable. In 412 games he has scored over 11,500 runs and has scored 16 centuries.

His innings of 374 against South Africa in 2006 is the highest score by a Sri Lankan. He also led Sri Lanka as captain for a number of games.

Both players should be regarded as two of the finest cricketers to grace our beloved game. They are both the same age and have been on the same cricketing journey together since the beginning of their careers. Now they are ending it together as winners of the World T20 and with great individual records to go with it.

There is no doubt that Sri Lanka will be a poorer side without these two key players and the cricketing world will also miss the huge talent that they possess. Hopefully they will continue for a little longer in Test match cricket where they still have a lot to offer and the English public
this summer can see them for one very last time as Sri Lanka tour in the early
part of the summer.

 

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Topics:
Cricket
T20 World Cup
Kumar Sangakkara
Sri Lanka cricket

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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