Big players make it count when it matters the most and perhaps Sri Lanka know it more than any other team.
Mumbai: Big players make it count when it matters the most and perhaps Sri Lanka know it more than any other team.
Mahela Jaywardene emulated the Aravinda de Silva of 1996 and stunned India into silence in the final of the 2011 World Cup with a crafty 103 of 88 balls, just like the pocket-size dynamo did to Australia in the 1996 final with his 107. And both remained not out.
The purists, though, may weigh the scales in favour of Aravinda if a comparison study is conducted of the two knocks, for the simple reason that it came in a chasing cause in the World Cup Final pressure, and against Australia.
But nothing can be taken away from the stylist Jayawardene who, along with his skipper Kumar Sangakkara, is the leader of the current batting pedigree of Sri Lanka.
What was more refreshing was the way he paced his innings, coming in at a tricky 60/2 in the 17th over of the innings. A wicket within 20 runs of that score would surely have exposed a fragile Lankan middle order. Instead, a 62-run crucial partnership ensued.
The Sri Lankan backbone didn't flinch even when India delivered a twin blow before the visitors' innings entered the home stretch of the ast 10 overs. Instead, he stood up and guided Nuwan Kulasekara and Thisara Perera's crucial cameos while bringing up the most crucial hundred of his career.
Not only that, the silken Jayawardene damaged Zaheer Khan's figures after the India spearhead seemed to have exorcised the ghost of 2003.
However, this innings of Jayawardene has only asserted his name as one of the greatest batsmen of Sri Lanka's cricket history, which was never under any doubt even if this day hadn't been part of his life. Anyhow, what a knock!