Back at the scene of his greatest test innings, Sanath Jayasuriya couldn't bring the curtain down on his glorious international career with the type of swashbucking display that characterised his 22 years as a Sri Lanka player.
Two days before his 42nd birthday, Jayasuriya returned to The Oval in southwest London to play the final match of his career — a one-dayer against England.
It was the ground where the 1996 World Cup-winning opener claims he struck his best knock — an extravagant 213 in a test against England in 1998.
Thirteen years later, however, the cricketer-turned-politician mustered only 2 runs from four balls before he was caught by Eoin Morgan as he scythed a cut off the bowling of Tim Bresnan.Playing in his 445th ODI, Jayasuriya was given a standing ovation as he departed, biting his helmet strapping in disappointment. Or, maybe, to hold back the tears.
He had earlier taken one wicket from six overs of bowling, trapping Ian Bell lbw to finish with figures of 1-46.It was hardly the way he would have liked to go but Jayasuriya could be considered fortunate to have been given another chance out in the middle.
He became the M.P. for the Sri Lankan town of Matara last year and his career was considered as good as over when he failed to make Sri Lanka's World Cup squad for the tournament on home soil, and then was unable to secure a contract with a franchise in this year's Indian Premier League.
Yet, somewhat controversially, he was given a chance to end his career with a two-match salvo in the team's current tour of England. He played in the Twenty20 at Bristol on Saturday, getting out for 8, before this ODI at The Oval.His last ODI for Sri Lanka had previously come in December 2009. The most recent of his 110 tests was in 2007.
Jayasuriya is widely credited with reinventing the art of one-day batting in the mid-90s with his cavalier approach at the start of the innings. Easing himself into an innings wasn't his style.
Beginning his cricketing life in the middle order — and primarily as an offspin bowler — when he was given his debut by Sri Lanka in 1989, he had become an opener by the mid-90s and stayed there.
His fearlessness and a bludgeoning approach made him a constant threat with the bat and he chipped in with 322 ODI wickets and nearly 100 test wickets with his often underrated bowling.At The Oval, he was unable to add to his haul of 1,500 fours and 270 sixes in his ODI career, scoring 13,430 runs at an average of more than 32. More than half of his ODI runs came from fours and sixes.