Sanath Jayasuriya, one of the most destructive batsmen to play international cricket, has confirmed that he will retire from the Test arena at the end of the Kandy Test against England. Jayasuriya's decision was widely expected because the Sri Lankan selectors have been under pressure to introduce younger players to their side and the 38 year-old had scored only one Test fifty in the past three years before yesterday's innings of 78.
An embrace with his team-mate Kumar Sangakkara as he left the field after being dismissed by Matthew Hoggard all but gave his intentions away. Jayasuriya will continue to play one-day cricket for Sri Lanka, the form of the game he helped transform during the 1996 World Cup in Asia with his explosive hitting in the opening overs.
"This is the right time to go," the left-handed batsman said. "There are some young guys coming up and I wanted to go while I'm at the top. Life without cricket will be tough, but I will still be playing one-day cricket and contributing to the team."
Bowlers around the world will not miss Jayasuriya, even in Test cricket where he is slightly more composed. When it was his day it was almost impossible to bowl at him, as England's James Anderson found out yesterday afternoon when he was smashed for six consecutive boundaries in an over. Few batsmen have played with such freedom, power and alacrity.