The seventh instalment in our new series where we compare two legendary cricketers from the same generation. Rather than necessarily settle the debate on who is ‘better’, this series attempts to illustrate who had a greater say in dictating his country’s cricketing fortunes. Along the way, you may also find a few facets of these players that are not necessarily discussed in conventional media.
Today we cast the spotlight on a pair who, apart from being close friends, were stalwarts of Sri Lankan cricket.
Kumar Sangakkara vs Mahela Jayawardene
A batting comparison in Test cricket
|PARAMETER||Kumar Sangakkara||Mahela Jayawardene||Maximum or
|Number of Tests||134||149||Sachin Tendulkar (200)|
|Runs Scored||12,400||11,814||Sachin Tendulkar (15,921)|
|Batting Average||57.40||49.84||Don Bradman (99.94)|
|Average runs per match||92.54||79.29||Don Bradman (135)|
|Percentage of team runs scored||18%||16%||Don Bradman (25.32%)|
|Impact at Home (min. 25 Tests)||65||75||Don Bradman|
|Impact Away (min. 15 Tests)||48||32||Don Bradman|
|Impact in Aus/Eng/SA (min. 10 Tests)||65||38||Don Bradman|
|Impact in Subcontinent (min. 10 Tests)||67||70||Cheteshwar Pujara|
|Failure Rate (min. 50 Tests)||42%||41%||Don Bradman (27%)|
||7 (once every 19 Tests)||6 (once every 25 Tests)||Inzamam-ul-Haq and
Rahul Dravid (8)
|Number of high impact performances||28 (once every 5 Tests)||21 (once every 7 Tests)||Ricky Ponting (32)|
|Most dominant period in career||March 2006 – August 2008||November 1999 -September 2001||n/a|
|Number of years as highest impact batsman||1 (2006)||0||Arthur Shrewsbury Snr. – 3
(1885, 1886, 1893)
Jack Hobbs – 3
(1912, 1914, 1926)
Len Hutton – 3
(1938, 1950, 1954)
Garry Sobers – 3
(1958, 1959, 1966)
|Highest impact batsman in a match||29||17||Kumar Sangakkara
(29 times in 134 Tests)
|Highest impact batsman in a series||11 (in 56 Test series)||5 (in 59 Test series)||Kumar Sangakkara
(11 times in 56 Test series)
1) All parameters from ‘
Example: Don Bradman has the highest
2) From ‘Batting Average’ till ‘
Kumar Sangakkara has had a greater influence with the bat on Sri Lanka’s Test history than Mahela Jayawardene – both, conventionally and through the impact sieve. His
Sangakkara was easily the more prolific run-scorer. He was more adept under pressure too, and his contribution in Sri Lanka’s victories (at a match and at a series level) was more significant than Jayawardene’s.
Only two batsmen in the history of Test cricket – Inzamam-ul-Haq and Rahul Dravid with 8
Jayawardene fared better at home and in the subcontinent while Sangakkara was a stand-out performer in foreign conditions, especially in Australia, England and South Africa.
Sangakkara’s superiority is further cemented by the sheer number of times he finished a match or series as the highest impact batsman. He is unsurpassed in that regard in Test history.
Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene went on to form the backbone that defined Sri Lankan batting in the noughties – a period in which they lost just four out of the 20 series they played at home, while also tasting success in Pakistan, England and New Zealand. The team won 51 and drew 36 of the 126 Test matches the pair featured in. It doesn’t surprise that Sangakkara and Jayawardene respectively remain the highest and second-highest impact batsmen in Sri Lanka’s Test cricket history.
Illustrations: Vasim Maner