Sri Lanka’s Jayawardene opening up Twenty20 horizons

BRIDGETOWN, May 8, 2010 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s Mahela Jayawardene is relishing the “freedom” that comes with opening the batting after another superlative display at the World Twenty20. And he insists his appetite for runs is far from sated ahead of the islanders’ upcoming clash with Australia on Sunday.

The 32-year-old made an unbeaten 98 as Sri Lanka, last year’s losing finalists, began their second round Super Eights campaign with a crushing 57-run win over hosts the West Indies at the Kensington Oval here on Friday.

It was the stylish right-hander’s third big score in as many innings this tournament and left him with 279 runs at a colossal average of 139.5 after knocks of 81 against New Zealand and 100 against Zimbabwe.

Former captain Jayawardene has come late in his career to opening, although he has always been a top order batsman.

And for those who dismiss Twenty20 as a game for sloggers only, Jayawardene’s essentially orthodox approach provides evidence cricket’s fundamentals still hold good in all forms of the game.

While the likes of other senior international batsmen such as Australia’s Ricky Ponting and India’s Sachin Tendulkar have opted out