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Cricket: Sri Lanka, Pakistan gear for Jayawardene finale
04 Aug, 2014 08:29:51
GALLE, August 4, 2014 (AFP) - Hosts Sri Lanka hope to give retiring former captain Mahela Jayawardene a winning farewell when they take on Pakistan for a sixth Test series in as many years from Wednesday.
The elegant right-hander, sixth in the all-time scorers' list with 11,671 runs in 147 Tests since his debut in 1997, is due to quit the longer format after the series. Jayawardene, 37, who retired from Twenty20 internationals after Sri Lanka's title-winning campaign in the World T20 in April, still hopes to compete in next year's one-day World Cup Down Under.

But he will be remembered most for his exploits in Test cricket, where he averages a commendable 50.09 -- with a monumental 374 against South Africa in 2006, the best of his 34 centuries.

Jayawardene starts the two-Test series against Pakistan just six runs ahead of his close friend and long-time team-mate Kumar Sangakkara's tally of 11,665 runs as Sri Lanka's leading Test batsman.

Thoughtful Sri Lankan cricket officials picked Jayawardene's two favourite venues, the Galle International Stadium and the Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC) in Colombo, for what will almost certainly be an emotional farewell.

Jayawardene's 2,297 runs in 22 Tests in Galle and 2,863 runs in 26 matches at the SSC -- which replaced the originally chosen P. Sara Oval for his final appearance -- are the most by any batsman at a single ground.
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