By Staff Writers
Mahela Jayawardene celebrates after scoring 100 runs during the second ODI against England at Headingley on July 1, 2011. AFP/ANDREW YATES.
July 1, 2011 (Island Cricket): Despite a magnificent century (144) against England in the second ODI at Headingley, Mahela Jayawardene’s role as an opening batsman in the Sri Lankan side may not be long-lived.
A middle-order batsman throughout his career, but promoted to open the batting in this series in the absence of regular opener Upul Tharanga, the former captain stroked a fine career-best 144 runs off 150 deliveries, carving out the English bowling with timing and grace on a batting-friendly wicket at Headingley Cricket Ground in Leeds today.
“We are looking at Mahela opening in some games, but resting from others and play for another three or four years,” captain Tillakaratne Dilshan told reporters.
“He can’t play all the matches in the next three or four years. We can bring another opener into that position.
“We have to rotate that position and give a chance to youngsters.”
Jayawardene has opened batting in ODIs on eight occasions and averages 66.57 at that position. The 34-year-old has three centuries under his belt as an opener.
The experiment of opening with Jayawardene proved to be an instant success in the Twenty20 format, during the ICC World Twenty20 2010 in the Caribbean, when the former captain outscored the biggest hitters in the game to score 302 runs at an average of 60.40, becoming the highest run-scorer of the tournament.
© Island Cricket