Death, taxes and Mahela Jayawardene scoring runs at the Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC) are three of life's certainties. The Sri Lankan stalwart added to his ludicrous record at the ground in Colombo on Thursday. In his usual fine fashion, he notched up his 11th ton at the venue to help Sri Lanka to 305/5 on Day 1 in the second Test against South Africa.
Unbeaten on 140 at the close of play, whenever Jayawardene is batting here, it just seems like he is never going to stop.
South Africa will be having nightmares of the last time they faced him here when he and Kumar Sangakkara combined for a massive 624-run stand back in 2006. The record is still the highest among partnerships in Tests today, but it’s just one of the illustrious records he holds at his home ground.
Jayawardene has accumulated 2,838 runs at an average of 81.08 in 26 matches at the venue, one of just two international players still playing who have notched up such a vast amount of runs. No other player in the top five comes close to his average or his tally.
|Mahela Jayawardene (SL)||Sinhalese Sports Club Ground, Colombo||26*||2838||374||81.08||11||8||1|
|Mahela Jayawardene (SL)||Galle International Stadium||22||2297||237||71.78||7||11||1|
|Jacques Kallis (SA)||Newlands, Cape Town||22||2181||224||72.7||9||9||1|
|Kumar Sangakkara (SL)||Sinhalese Sports Club Ground, Colombo||21*||2159||287||77.1||8||5||3|
|Graham Gooch (Eng)||Lord's, London||21||2015||333||53.02||6||5||2|
|Ricky Ponting (Aus)||at Adelaide Oval||17||1743||242||60.1||6||6||2|
|Don Bradman (Aus)||at Melbourne Cricket Ground||11||1671||270||128.53||9||3||1|
|Brian Lara (WI)||at Antigua Recreation Ground, St John's, Antigua||14||1650||400*||78.57||4||6||2|
|Kumar Sangakkara (SL)||at Galle International Stadium||20||1566||199*||50.51||6||7||1|
|Andrew Strauss (Eng)||at Lord's, London||18||1562||161||52.06||5||6||1|
He is also one of just four players to have scored over 2,000 runs at a single venue, and perhaps unsurprisingly, he is the only player ever to have scored over 2,000 runs at two venues.
Many will argue that it is simply the flat pitches in Sri Lanka that are in Jayawardene’s favour, or that it’s because of the flat decks that he has been able to accumulate so many runs. While this is partly true, it still takes immense concentration and sheer mindedness to do it over and over again. To do it year after year is something astounding and to still be doing it at the age of 37 deserves endless praise.
There are some grounds where players simply feel more comfortable. It’s where they grew up and learned to play cricket. That sort of thing deserves immense credit, and to simply dismiss it because of “flat pitches” is nothing short of foolish.
He will call time on his Test career later in the year against Pakistan at this very ground. He will be remembered as one of the true modern-day greats, a player who can adapt to any situation and who has overcome much adversity.
Jayawardene is the only active player to have scored more than 10 tons at a single venue. The only current player who comes close is Sangakkara with eight, also at the SSC. No other player in the top 10 is still playing. No other modern-day batsman is close to this tally of runs at a single venue, even when having played around about the same amount of matches at a specific ground.
His average at both Galle and the SSC is outstanding with 5,096 runs at an average of 76.05 and 18 hundreds. Elsewhere, he has scored 6,511 runs at an average of 39.70 and 16 hundreds. Jayawardene clearly loves batting in Sri Lanka.
When it comes to performances against specific teams at the SSC, he has failed to score a hundred against five current Test-playing nations. Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan, West Indies and Zimbabwe are the only teams to have stemmed his flow of runs.
He has failed to get a half-century at this venue only against West Indies and Zimbabwe. His best conversion rate at the SSC is against India, having converted all four of his half-tons to hundreds. He averages over 100 against Bangladesh, England, India and South Africa at this venue.
|v New Zealand||2||215||96||53.75||453||0||2|
|v South Africa||4||734||374||183.5||1281||3||1|
|v West Indies||2||83||41*||41.5||198||0||0|
Jayawardene's greatness hardly needed to be underscored, but it is worth celebrating at every opportunity. His feats at the SSC are unlikely to be matched by anyone any time soon, and whatever happens in this Test, he has proven once again that a home-ground advantage means a little bit more to some players.
All statistics via ESPNCricinfo's Statsguru.