Sanath Jayasuriya’s highest Test score of 340 against India in 1997 was lower impact than the 73 runs he made in two innings against Pakistan in 2000.
This is why.
Jayasuriya’s 340 came in a match where many batsmen made merry on a featherbed. India made 537-8 declared with three centurions. Sri Lanka made a world record 952-6 declared with 340 from Jayasuriya, 225 from Sangakkara and 126 from Aravinda de Silva. There was no time to even begin a third innings. It was party time for batsmen.
In 2000, it was a much tighter Test match. Pakistan made 182, Sri Lanka 353 (Jayasuriya made 17). Pakistan came back with 390 setting Sri Lanka 220 to win. Jayasuriya absorbed pressure at 16 for 1, 34 for 2 and 73 for 3- despite an injured Akram, Waqar, Razzaq and Saqlain were consistently threatening. He played an uncharacteristically sedate innings (strike rate 53) of 56 that took his team more than halfway to the target, from where his team responded and won the match by 2 wickets. This fourth innings knock (coupled with his brief first innings essay) had a higher impact than the time-numbing 340 he had made three years previously.
Jaideep Varma/Soham Sarkhel
NOTE: This piece is up-to-date as of August 2016