x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Captain Dilshan to play Jayawardene sparingly in one-day games

Sri Lanka are "looking at Mahela opening in some games but resting from others, and play for another three or four years".

Sri Lanka are contemplating resting Mahela Jayawardene from games in order to prolong the star batsman's career.

The only people who appeared to need Jayawardene, 34, to take a break at Headingley on Friday were England's bowlers as he marked his 343rd one-day international with a career-best 144.

Jayawardene's innings powered Sri Lanka to 309 for five and laid the foundation for a 69-run win in the second ODI that saw the tourists level the five-match series at 1-1.

Normally a No 3 or 4 batsman, this innings was Jayawardene's third one-day hundred in eight matches as an opener.

It is a position he has been elevated to this trip after Upul Tharanga was suspended for a drugs offence and with Sanath Jayasuriya retiring after England's 110-run win in the first ODI at The Oval on Tuesday.

"We are looking at Mahela opening in some games but resting from others, and play for another three or four years," Tillakaratne Dilshan, the Sri Lanka captain, said.

"He can't play all the matches in the next three or four years. We can bring another opener into that position. We have to rotate that position and give a chance to youngsters."

After Sri Lanka lost two early wickets to run-outs, Jayawardene - who survived a difficult slip catch on seven - and Kumar Sangakkara, who made 69, shared a third-wicket partnership of 159 that took the game away from England.

"This was a very good response from the boys," Jayawardene told Sky Sports, adding that the "310 was a bonus. We thought 270 would be a good total. Once Kumar and I settled, we managed to up the rate."