Why Mahela Jayawardene should open the batting or bat at 5

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His classical batting style, the effortless stroke-play, the crafty cricket brain that made him one of the best captains, and the amazing slip fielder that he is, together with his infectious personality, are all reasons why Mahela Jayawardena is my all-time favourite cricketer.

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Jayawardene is one of the best No. 4 batsmen produced by Sri Lanka, Aravinda de Silva of course being the other, but his best cricket has come when he opened in limited-overs cricket, especially on bouncy and fast pitches in Australia.

His ability to find gaps during the power-play and to rotate the strike allows the run-machines Tillakaratne Dilshan and Kumar Sangakkara to build their innings and bat for a longer period with younger players like Dinesh Chandimal, Lahiru Thirimanne and Angelo Mathews.

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However, since the chief selector Sanath Jayasuriya has stated that he wants Jayawardene to stay in the middle order, and with Thirimanne being forced to open the batting at the last minute due to the failures by Kusal Perera, Upul Tharanga and Dimuth Karunaratne, it has thrown off the balance the team once had, so the likes of Chandimal and Karunaratne (players who can build innings at a slow pace) should bat at four between the two legends Sangakkara and Jayawardene, pushing Jayawardene to No. 5, followed by Mathews.

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Photos by AFP

Comments

iafsl's picture
Member since:
12 April 2014
Last activity:
2 years 21 weeks

I totaly agree.

Sanjeev Bernard Fernando's picture
Member since:
25 January 2013
Last activity:
8 weeks 5 days

agree....unless the 2nd wicket falls after 27 - 30 overs...then MJ at 4

SLCricket1's picture
Member since:
12 June 2014
Last activity:
2 years 14 weeks

I think it should be 4 or 5 . for an example in a sanga dili 1 down partnership if dili goes early sending in dimuth will make two lefties in the crease .in that scenario to keep the right left combination going i think sending mahela at 4 is the best option than dimuth . other than that i completely agree with the mahela opening suggestion as well.

Last Man Out's picture
Member since:
7 November 2010
Last activity:
11 min 40 sec

Agree with analysis.Except for Matthews every batsmen in this squad is a top order batsmen.SL have paid the price for not developing a big hitting lower order.As we have seen against new zealand and in the practice games the par score on NZ grounds is 300.Mahela needs to drop to 5 and matthews 6 if we are to compete in this WC.

Thivi's picture
Member since:
25 September 2012
Last activity:
40 weeks 1 day

Arjuna has been saying this for a while, but who cares to listen? The batting order is lopsided and that is all what you can
infer.

(Last edited by Thivi on February 12, 2015 - 01:07)
Yasas's picture
Member since:
9 July 2014
Last activity:
1 year 47 weeks

chandimal and karunaratne arent capable of finishing an innings at no 6, therefore someone has to drop down to let them slide up to either positions 3 or 4. sangakkara is set and is the best option at 3 and mahela is flexible anywhere and has the ability to score briskly. angelo is a fantastic finisher, and although he wont get as many runs as he gets batting at 5, the scores he gets are likely to be more useful if he drops down to 6.

Hit man's picture
Member since:
6 November 2014
Last activity:
40 weeks 20 hours

i remember once arjuna chased a target against likes of waqar and wasim in pakistan. he played with broken thumb and chased that target while batting no 6 i think. that kind of attitude clearly missing from these players sadly. talk about middle order we had last whole year to develope a player. infact we have the likes of kithruwan or bhanuka .but we rely on slogger like thisara.

HumbleBee's picture
Member since:
9 March 2011
Last activity:
2 weeks 5 days

I agree with your views about Mahela. But the real point to ponder is why are we facing this kind of crisis today?

The question to be asked is why Jayasuriya tilted the team balance we had up to 2013 by laying off Tharanga for such a long period exceeding over a year, without ODIs? Why he was not given any reasonable opportunity to regain his momentum, by restricting him to just FOUR odis for 2014? obviously, none can regain their rhythm or confidence, appearing in such brief outings here & there (after more than a year long isolation).

After all, he is the only opener we have with 5k runs & vast experience among young, didn't he deserve a more decent chance than that? Kusal was given 41 Odis at a stretch, Thiri & Chandi were given 30+ odis consistently in 2014 despite dismal failures, but Upul... obviously put on hold extensively by Sanath, since the day he became a selector. can this be logically justified ? at least UT should have been given more than a solitary OdI Vs Ind (ironically he won the previous encounter for SL Vs Ind with an unbeaten 174 & he was the highest scorer 78 in the warm up game). He was not even selected to the squad for 7 0di series Vs Eng & for the Test squad to NZ, despite being the highest contributor (94 & 45)in the previous series decider Vs PK, bringing success to SL.

So clearly, there is no point adding Upul to the list of failures that you mentioned. Those guys failed despite having record breaking amount of opportunities during 2014. The question is why Sanath decided to destabilize the opening spot like that ?

Upul had a brief lean patch in Aus in January 2013, but can Sanath justify such a long lay off because of that? Upul had scored 1578 runs at 38.00 Av- 4×100- 10×50 from 47 ODis included strong opponents, in the previous 2 yrs (2011 & 12). This clearly shows the level of STABILITY Tharanga had provided to the side, up to that point.

We know the record of the replacement Sanath chose to carry forward up to Dec 2014, playing in similar number of ODIs. When you look at the whole picture, it is not hard to find the cause of all these problems gradually sucked the viable potential of whole batting line up like a disease!

They can continue keeping away Tharanga from squads / playing internationals & can try every other option available in the coming months too, but frankly i don't see SL achieving any success in near future. Especially when the 3 big guys are gone.

(Last edited by HumbleBee on February 12, 2015 - 12:34)
Stormy's picture
Member since:
15 January 2011
Last activity:
13 hours 10 min

I dont agree with #5 and reason is I want Mahela to bat for an long as possible. The last thing I want is someone fiddling around using up deliveries in the middle over and Mahela on the bench. I was our best batters geting the best opportunity to win the game so the current line up is fine including Mathews at #5.

SLCricket1's picture
Member since:
12 June 2014
Last activity:
2 years 14 weeks

well statistically mathews is better at no 5 , but since we have shown huge collapses in the recent times ( 7 for 49 ,8 for 41 ,8 for 96,5 for 18 )this team needs mathews to give that assurance to the batting depth . mathews is the man who can stop this "perahara " at no6 .

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