Jaya continues to astonish

The left-hander had to be brought back to international cricket from the brink of retirement, and on a cold Wednesday evening at Trent Bridge he showed advancing age has not affected his capabilities.

Fidel Edwards might have been playing a game of beach cricket in Jamaica when Jayasuriya made his international debut way back in 1989. But the veteran batsman smashed his much younger opponent for 17 runs in an over to show the fire is still burning.

His innings (81, 47b, 10x4, 3x6) was a stunning exhibition of audacious stroke play. It was tough to imagine that Jayasuriya will turn 40 in a few days, after seeing those short arm pulls, flat hits over extra cover and innovative taps behind the deep square leg fielder, a new addition to his armoury.

The knock was also an indication that the ‘Matara Butcher’ is in no hurry to bid adieu to the international stage. Jayasuriya admitted that later. “As long as you are playing well and performing well, I'm not too worried about the age. The only thing I know is to perform well. I'm happy to get this opportunity at this stage of my career. It suits me because I always play attacking cricket,” he said. Bowlers certainly will not be happy to hear those words!

However, it was not just with the bat Jayasuriya caught the attention. He beat many of his younger team-mates with some agile effort on the field. “I'm enjoying the T20 format. This format is really good and you need to be really fit and work really hard on your game. I work with my physio very hard to keep my fitness level going,” he said.
Jayasuriya had a great chance to notch up a hundred, but the opener said he was not unduly worried over the miss. “Everyone was thinking about that. But my thinking was to get more runs on the board. It's a bit disappointing. But at the end of the day what we want as a player and team is to win the game.”

So will he advise Sachin Tendulkar, his team-mate in Mumbai Indians, to take up international T20s? That typical mischievous smile was his answer before adding “He knows his game and what to do.”

However, he offered his take on the innings of Tillakaratne Dilshan, who made a sparkling 74 off 47 balls. “When I see him playing some of the shots from the other end, I could not even believe it. When I tried to play like a right-hander, I got out. I can't play and improvise like him.”

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