Former Sri Lankan cricketer Sanath Jayasuriya
Former Sri Lankan cricketer Sanath Jayasuriya

Former Sri Lankan batsman Sanath Jayasuriya considered as one of the greatest batsmen of his era is well known for his powerful striking and match-winning all-round performances in ODI cricket. Jayasuriya is credited for having revolutionized one-day international cricket with his explosive batting with Romesh Kaluwitharana in 1996, which initiated the hard-hitting modern-day batting strategy of all nations.

Sanath Jayasuriya’s Carrier

Jayasuriya was an all-rounder, who had an international cricket career that spread over four decades. He is the only player to score over 12,000 runs and capture more than 300 wickets in One Day International cricket, and hence regarded as one of the best all-rounders in the history of limited-overs cricket.

He was named the Most Valuable Player of 1996 Cricket World Cup and Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack broke an age-old tradition by naming him one of Five Cricketers’ of the Year 1997 despite not playing the previous season in England. Jayasuriya was also the captain of the Sri Lankan cricket team from 1999 to 2003.

On this Day

On this day in 1996, Sanath Jayasuriya had become the quickest to score a half-century in ODIs. In what was Jayasuriya’s 12th ODI half-century, it had come off just 17 balls to provide Sri Lanka a rocketing start in a 216-run chase in the final of the Singer Cup.

Opening the batting with wicket-keeper batsman Romesh Kaluwitharana, the pair shared a quickfire 70-run opening partnership. Kaluwitharana, who got out to Pakistan pacer Aaqib Javed on the second delivery of the sixth over, didn’t contribute a single run in the partnership which speaks highly about the southpaw’s blitz at the top of the order.

Predominantly known for changing the ODI batting mindset against the new ball, Jayasuriya drove Pakistan fast bowler Waqar Younis for a boundary on the second ball of the innings to make his intentions clear.

Match winning performance

Jayasuriya, then 26, started hitting Younis and Javed to both sides of the ground leaving the Pakistani duo with minimal options against him. What followed was a flurry of fearless pulls, cuts and drives to boost the Sri Lankan innings.

Having completed the 50-run partnership in just 22 balls, Jayasuriya then brought up an individual record as he pulled Pakistani spinner Saqlain Mushtaq for a six to score a 17-ball half-century.

Despite Jayasuriya scoring 76 (28) with the help of eight fours and five sixes before getting out in the ninth over, Sri Lanka fared miserably in the chase as they were bundled out for 172 in 32.5 overs. With bowling figures of 7-0-46-3, Mushtaq was the pick of Pakistani bowlers.

Before Jayasuriya, the record for the quickest half-century was held by Australia’s Simon O’Donnell who had registered an 18-ball half-century against Sri Lanka in 1990.

Jayasuriya, who held the record for close to 19 years, saw former South Africa captain AB de Villiers going past him by scoring a 16-ball ODI half-century against West Indies in Johannesburg.

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Post Retirement

He retired from Test cricket in December 2007 and from limited-overs cricket in June 2011. On 28 January 2013, Sri Lanka Cricket appointed him as the chairman of the cricket selection committee. Sri Lanka won the ICC World Twenty20 for the first time in 2014, during his tenure as the chief selector.

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