sport

Mahela set for Test farewell

Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews wants to send Mahela Jayawardene into international retirement with a victory as the veteran batsman prepares to play his final Test match against Pakistan in Colombo.

The second Test against Pakistan at the Sinhalese Sports Club, starting Wednesday, will be Jayawardene's 149th and last before calling time on a career which has brought him 11,756 runs and 34 centuries since his debut in 1997.

The hosts cannot lose the two-match series, having won by seven wickets in Galle last week, and a draw will secure series victory - but Mathews has only one aim.

"The best thing we can do is play well in this match and win it for Mahela," he told ESPN Cricinfo.

"We can't do his service justice with words. As a team we're very sad he's retiring. There are so many things we will miss."

A half-century would be Jayawardene's 50th in five-day cricket, but Mathews continued: "He's not into personal milestones.

"If you look at Test matches this is going to be his 149th Test. He could have played one more Test and retired, if he went for his personal milestones.

"He's been an unbelievable team man, and he'll do whatever the team wants him to do and bat wherever the team needs him.

"Mahela still he helps me a lot with tactics. He's very smart in his thinking, and he's shown that in the past when he's captain as well.

"A lot of the youngsters, including me, have learned a lot from him. He tries to teach them whatever they do wrong, to try and correct them.

"It will take a long time to replace Mahela, because he's the kind of player that comes around very rarely."

In team news, Sri Lanka pace bowler Shaminda Eranga is absent with a hip injury, adding to the loss of Nuwan Pradeep and Suranga Lakmal with ankle problems.

Uncapped paceman Lahiru Gamage has been called in as cover, but the other new addition to the squad is opening batsman Dimuth Karunaratne, with Upul Tharanga struggling for form.

Shan Masood is an option as Pakistan look to strengthen a shaky batting line-up.

Captain Misbah-ul-Haq said: "We did play well (in Galle), but we weren't consistent.

"We played well in patches and lacked the consistency in every department so what we are going to do is to ensure we are on our toes in every session.

"Every game is a new game, regardless of what happened in the previous game, so we are looking forward to win this one to level the series and spoil Mahela's party."