Mathews: Mahela an 'unbelievable team man'

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Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews has heaped praise on retiring batsman Mahela Jayawardene ahead of his final Test, saying the 148-Test veteran will be sorely missed on and off the field.

Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews has heaped praise on retiring batsman Mahela Jayawardene ahead of his final Test, saying the 148-Test veteran will be sorely missed on and off the field.

The second Test against Pakistan takes place at Colombo's Sinhalese Sports Club, the same city in which Jayawardene made his debut in 1997, and Mathews is determined to let the legend walk off the field next week on with a final win in the bag.

An emotional Mathews said: "We can't do his service justice with words. As a team we're very sad he's retiring. The best thing we can do is play well in this match and win it for Mahela.

"There are so many things we will miss. He is a real fighter. If you go into a warm-up match with him, he'll still try to fight and win. That's the kind of character that he is, and he's an unbelievable player.

"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, if he went for his 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."

Mathews went on to say how much the veteran helped him on the field in terms of decision making, and how much he relied on his senior players as they thought as a unit, not allowing Mathews to flounder on his own.

He said: "Mahela still he helps me a lot with tactics. He's very smart in his thinking, and he's shown that in the past when he's captain as well. He's not afraid to let me know when I have to do something.

"He gives so many options. He puts options on the table and he's the most senior guy in the team, and we're going to miss him so much. Up to now he has supported me right throughout from day one, and I'm really thankful to him for that.

"That's the kind of characters that we want in the team, regardless of whether it's a senior or a junior, I want people to come up to me and give their ideas, so that we can all put our thoughts together and try and pick the best one.

"Mahela contributes immensely, and he's been a pillar of strength to us."

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