GALLE, July 15, 2014 (AFP) – Sri Lanka are planning to give star batsman Mahela Jayawardene a fitting farewell by winning his remaining matches, captain Angelo Mathews said ahead of the first Test against South Africa starting Wednesday. “They’ve still got these very good players in the team and they are a very strong team to beat whether you play them at home or away as they showed us in the one-day series,” he said.
“They are a very balanced team and we have to be at our best to beat them, it’s a huge challenge,” said Mathews who has been in top form since being named the captain last February.
The second and final Test will be played in Colombo from July 24-28. On Monday, Jayawardene announced he will retire from the longest format of the game in August, after the two-Test rubber against South Africa followed by two matches against Pakistan (Aug 6-18).
The 37-year-old right hander will only be available for one-day internationals, having also retired from Twenty20 cricket in April this year.
“We need a player like him in the team, but he (Jayawardene) has decided to say goodbye,” Mathews said at a pre-match press conference in Galle on Tuesday.
“If we can send him off by winning all four Tests it will be great