Island Cricket

Thursday, January 3, 2008

[Video] Sanath Jayasuriya 340 Vs India | August 1997

Jayasuriya dominated the Indian bowling, but he has also decimated them to the point that bowlers like Manoj Prabhakar and Rajesh Chauhan have been knocked out of the game and, Venkatesh Prasad and Anil Kumble are still licking the wounds inflicted on them when India last toured here four years ago.

When Jayasuriya is at the crease he defies all conventions of batsmanship that he has been more than a bowlers' nightmare.

Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid and Venkatesh Prasad (members of the present team) will vividly recall what Jayasuriya did to them at the R. Premadasa Stadium in August 1997 when he made the fourth highest score in Test cricket - 340, keeping them on the field for as long as 13 hours and 19 minutes.

After Nilesh Kulkarni became the first Indian bowler to take a wicket off his first ball in Test cricket, India had to wait 1,103 balls for the next wicket as Jayasuriya in liaison with Roshan Mahanama (225) shared Test cricket's highest (576) and longest (753 minutes) partnership. They became the first pair to bat throughout two uninterrupted days of Test cricket. Jayasuriya recalling that innings said that he ranked it along with the 199 he scored in the second Test of that series at the SSC, as the best of his seven Test centuries.

What makes Jayasuriya a threat to opposing bowlers is that there is no set pattern in his approach to batting. He loses no time in taking the initiative whether he hits the first ball of the innings for a six off a square cut, a cover drive which lands in the stands or a flick off his legs which flashes past the square-leg umpire. There is nothing transparent about his batting.

He is a master at pacing out his innings. A cautious half-century could just be the platform for him to launch an all out assault on the bowling later in the innings. One of the strong points of Jayasuriya's batting is his power. It is not just the new ball which flies off his bat, but the old ball is also smashed with equal ease.

How much Jayasuriya relishes the Indian bowling can be gauged by the fact that he holds his country's highest individual score in Test cricket (340) and one-day internationals (189) against the same opposition.

The 189 made in the Coca Cola final at Sharjah in November last year he ranks as his best one-day innings largely because of the circumstances under which he made it. Sri Lanka had lost four of their top batters for 116 runs, and with only Russel Arnold as the last recognised batsman, Jayasuriya had to pace his innings out in such a manner that his side finished with a match-winning total.

Writes Sa'adi Thawfeeq for The Ceylon Daily News | Monday, 13 August 2001


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