Former Sri Lanka skipper Mahela Jayawardene has announced that home series against Pakistan will be his last outing in whites for the Lankan Lions. However, he will continue to represent the Islanders in the 50-over format.
Jayawardene, who made his debut against India in 1997, is one of the most capped players for Sri Lanka and represented the Island nation in 145 Tests, while scoring 11,493 runs at an average of 50.18 with 33 centuries and 48 half-centuries.
The 37-year-old, who captained Sri Lanka twice, has been in fine form lately as he recently scored a double-century against Bangladesh in January. He has been a backbone of the Lankan batting order from past 18 years.
"It was not an easy decision to make, given that it has been a great privilege and honour representing my country during the past 18 years," Jayawardene said in a statement, "But I believe this is the right time."
Jayawardene had announced his retirement from Twenty20 after the World T20 competition in Bangladesh in a bid to concentrate on the forthcoming World Cup in New Zealand and Australia.
Chief cricket selector of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) Sanath Jayasuriya said the board respects the decision taken by the stylish right-hander and welcomes his move, which will open doors for youngsters in the Lankan Test squad.
"He wants to give up Test cricket so that he can concentrate on one-day matches. He wants to be fully prepared for the next World Cup," Jayasuriya said, "We respect his decision."
"By stepping down from the Test squad he is also making way for a younger player to come in. We thank him for all he has done for cricket in the country," Jayasuriya added.
Jayawardene apart from being the highest scorer for Sri Lanka in Tests, also holds the record of highest score by a Lankan in Tests - 374 in 2006 against South Africa. He piled up more runs than any other batsmen on dry surfaces, where other players struggled to score.
He is also considered as the most successful Sri Lankan skipper during his two stints with the national squad. He is also considered as a remarkable fielder in slips by taking a total of 197 catches.
Before the farewell series of Jayawardene against Pakistan, Sri Lanka will play two-match Test series against the Proteas, after losing the three-match ODI series 2-1.