Written by Sriram Veera | March 19, 2015 9:58 am
There was no recoil of the bat after a ferocious on-the-up punch shot from Kumar Sangakkara. There were no caressed drives from Mahela Jayawardene. Instead, we got hollow expressions, faces drained of emotions, and vacant stares. It’s ridiculous the kind of emotional investment we make on sporting farewells. As if entire careers hinged on this one last bow from the big stage. But there is something about a farewell apart from the inherent sense of closure that makes one ache for a romantic finish. (Full Coverage| Points table| Fixtures)
But there was one moment of bromance on Wednesday. It came at the fall of Jayawardene. He must have been terribly gutted to finish his last day of his international career in this way but he didn’t cocoon himself into self-pity or self-absorption. At least not immediately. Just before he turned and walked away, Jayawardene looked across at Sangakkara and put his hand up as an apology for the shot he played and for letting down his partner on this big day.
It was a charming little apology that told its own tale of this incredible pair of friends who have had a dream career.
Sangakkara will turn out to play a Test series against India later this year but what’s Sanga without Mahela. Watching Desmond Haynes bat on for a few years after Gordon Greenidge retired wasn’t quite the same.
In his final ODI international, Sangakkara at least fought out there but Jayawardene the batsman just didn’t turn up.
Sadly, he didn’t hit a single boundary and so, we couldn’t see Jayawardene run that familiar (superstitious?) run of his: even though he knows the ball has gone to boundary, he would run through to the other end and tap his bat inside the non-striker’s crease.
His errors on Wednesday were familiar, from a past that we know intimately, and in a strange kind of way that fact was comforting.
And so when during his brief stay, Jayawardene plonked his front foot almost lazily and had the bat coming around the pad as an afterthought, the familiarity with these errors brought a smile. How many times we have seen that in the early part of his innings against spinners. When he survived a close lbw appeal off Imran Tahir’s googly, one hoped he would be able to shake himself of out of this reverie and do what he does best: join Sangakkara and save Sri Lanka.
The next ball he faced from Tahir, at the start of a new over, must have felt like a moment of release. It seemed like a short ball and but even as Jayawardene opened up his shoulder, his fans must have winced. Tahir had ripped the ball across at some pace and it was clear, halfway in its trajectory, that Jayawardene was about to get into trouble.
It’s incredible how moments like this can seemingly play out in slow motion. Jayawardene could still have got out of the mess with an ugly stab, a hurried prod but our man doesn’t do graceless exits well. He continued with the original thought of the pull, tried to hasten his bat speed but there wasn’t much time for jailbreak. And it was time for that apology.