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Want to win for Mahela: Angelo

Mahela Jayawardene

Colombo: A cricketer like Mahela Jayawardene comes across very rarely and younger players in the team have a lot to learn from his spirit and a wonderful attitude, Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews said on the eve of the veteran batsman’s last Test appearance.

The second and final Test of this two-match series against Pakistan, starting on Thursday, will be an emotional one for Sri Lanka and Jayawardene as the 37-year-old bids farewell to the game’s longer version being one of its prolific run-scorers.

“As we all know, it’s going to be Mahela’s last game. It’s an emotional moment for everyone... We want to win it for him,” Mathews told reporters on Wednesday.

“When we walk into a game, we want to win all the time… That’s the attitude we take, regardless of what’s happening around. We want to keep our focus and play it for Mahela.

“It will take a long time to replace him because he’s the kind of player that comes across very rarely. We can’t do justice to his service with just words.

“As a team, we’re very sad that he’s retiring. The best thing we can do is play well in this match and win the Test for him.”

Mathews said the team, especially the younger players, will miss Jayawardene’s presence in the dressing room. For the record, Jayawardene will be playing in his 149th Test, the most by a Sri Lankan cricketer.

“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 had he gone for 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. I’m very happy to have a guy like Mahela in the team.” (AGENCIES)