Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara Have the Chance for Perfect Finale

Chris TealeFeatured ColumnistAugust 16, 2014

Sri Lankan batsmen Mahela Jayawardene, right, and Kumar Sangakkara cheer each other during the third day of the second test cricket match between Sri Lanka and Pakistan in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Saturday, Aug. 16, 2014. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)
Eranga Jayawardena/Associated Press

One of the giants of international cricket is just two days away from the end of his time in Tests, as Sri Lanka's Mahela Jayawardene brings his glittering career to a close.

Against Pakistan in Colombo, at the end of the third day, he was unbeaten on 49 alongside another senior player and his great friend, Kumar Sangakkara.

The pair have taken the Sri Lankans a lead of 165 runs at stumps with their unbroken stand of 98 and have the perfect opportunity to close out their partnership in the best way possible.

Eranga Jayawardena/Associated Press

For Jayawardene to bow out with a victory in this game—and a 2-0 victory in the series—would be a perfect reward for a superb career.

Between them, Jayawardene and Sangakkara have scored 23,792 runs in Test matches and scored 71 centuries.

They have been part of several of the biggest partnerships in the history of Sri Lankan cricket, most notably in 2006 when they put on 624 against South Africa.

That stand is the record partnership for the third wicket in the history of Test cricket and shows how much the pair have enjoyed batting together over the years.

It is also part of an aggregate of 6,447 runs as a partnership, the third most in the history of the game and at a brilliant average of 56.06.

Now, they have one last chance to impress and to secure victory for their side, and they have already shown they are both still capable of coping on any surface.

When they came together in this game, Sri Lanka were in a little trouble at 79-2 on a pitch that offers more to the bowlers in the final session of the day than at any other time.

Eranga Jayawardena/Associated Press

However, they both played superb defensive shots and punished any loose balls from a depleted Pakistan attack that lacked hospitalised seamer Junaid Khan.

Their calmness under pressure took the sting out of the game, at least for the time being, and has set Sri Lanka up well to push for the win over the next two days.

So far, it has not been the most prolific series for Jayawardene, as he has only managed 138 runs.

However, the 37-year-old will leave an enormous void when he leaves the international stage at the end of this game, both as a batsman and as a leader.

If he and Sangakkara can continue their partnership and help Sri Lanka set a target from which they can bowl Pakistan out and take victory, it will be the perfect end.

Another series victory, and another big partnership with Sangakkara, would perhaps be the most fitting way to conclude a glittering career.