Sri Lanka focused on Jayawardene farewell

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Thilan Samaraweera said his team would use its tour of Pakistan as an opportunity send outgoing captain Mahela Jayawardene off on a high note.

Updated: February 17, 2009 10:47 IST
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Sri Lanka Test regular Thilan Samaraweera said on Monday his team would use its tour of Pakistan as an opportunity send outgoing captain Mahela Jayawardene off on a high note.

"Everyone knows his record as a captain which is brilliant in both Test and one-day cricket," Samaraweera said.

"I think we will give a good farewell to him as a captain."

Jayawardene, 31, has announced he will step down from the captaincy after the end of the second and final Test at Lahore on March 5. The first Test will be played at Karachi from Feb. 21.

Jayawardene has struck 24 Test centuries _ 11 as captain _ and overall has scored 7,959 Test runs in 100 Tests at an average of 52.36.

He also led in 97 limited-overs internationals with a success ratio of 57 percent. Overall, in 299 one-dayers, Jayawardene has made 8,042 runs at an average of 32.03.

Samaraweera, who has scored 2,800 runs in 47 Test matches at an average of 45.16, said it will be difficult to beat Pakistan in Pakistan.

"They have a lot of good cricketers _ especially fast bowlers and (leg-spinner) Danish Kaneria," Samaraweera said.

"It's a big challenge ahead of us, but we are looking forward to it."

Sri Lanka has not won a Test series against Pakistan since clinching a three-Test series 2-1 in 2000. Since then it has lost twice to Pakistan at home and drew the 2004 two-Test series in Pakistan.

Pakistan will be playing its first Test match in 14 months since last competing against India in Dec. 2007. Security concerns held by foreign teams _ especially non-Asian Test playing countries _ deprived Pakistan of Test matches last year.

Australia postponed its scheduled tour to Pakistan in March last year due to security reservations while a two-Test series against the West Indies did not go ahead in November.

The Sri Lankan team on Monday had a two-hour practice session at the National Stadium _ venue for the first Test. It begins its Test preparations with a two-day warmup match starting Tuesday against a Patron's XI led by hard-hitting batsman Shahid Afridi.

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