Jayawardene will retire from the long form of the game after the second Test in Colombo but first comes the opening match in Galle, where the 37-year-old will look to add to his 11,671 runs.
Pakistan’s Misbah-ul-Haq determined to contain Mahela Jayawardene in his final Test
All eyes will be on Mahela Jayawardene as the former Sri Lanka captain steps out for his final Test series against Pakistan on Wednesday.
The 37-year-old will retire from the long form of the game after the second Test in his home city of Colombo later this month.
First comes the opening match in Galle, where Jayawardene will look to add to his 11,671 runs, the sixth highest of all time, in his 148th Test.
He needs another 283 runs to overtake Brian Lara in fifth, but team-mate and fellow stalwart of Sri Lanka’s batting Kumar Sangakkara is just six runs behind him.
Pakistan will hope to spoil the party, and captain Misbah-ul-Haq said his team will target Jayawardene.
Misbah told a press conference: “If we are to win the series in Sri Lanka, we have to ensure that their top batsmen, particularly Jayawardene, is not allowed to get many runs.
“I have a lot of respect for what he has achieved but we are going to Sri Lanka to win the two-Test series and we know how important it is for us to not allow their senior players to score.”
Sri Lanka have had a successful run since their drawn three-Test series with Pakistan at the start of the year, winning the World T20 as well as one-day and Test series in England.
They came out on the losing side of their recent series against South Africa, though, beaten in the opening Test in Galle before drawing the final match in Colombo.
“It is going to be a tough series because Sri Lanka have been playing a lot of Test and other cricket,” said Misbah.
“But we have prepared hard and I have confidence in our bowlers. Our spinners have traditionally done well in Sri Lanka but we are banking on our pace bowlers as well.”
In contrast to their opponents, Pakistan have not played a Test since facing Sri Lanka in January, and they have not won a series in two years.
Despite that they sit third in the rankings behind South Africa and Australia and, under new head coach Waqar Younis, have their sights set on top spot.
Misbah said: “We have a very good chance and it’s a big motivation for us to become top Test team.”
Sri Lanka will be without fast bowler Suranga Lakmal, who has not recovered from an ankle injury suffered against South Africa, but they are hoping Shaminda Eranga will be fit.
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