Former Lankan coach Bayliss says Jayawardene as good as Ponting
Former Sri Lanka coach Trevor Bayliss has claimed veteran Mahela Jayawardene has been rated in the same batting stratosphere as Australian legend Ricky Ponting.
Jayawardene is eying a special place alongside the legendary Steve Waugh in Friday's first Test against Australia in Hobart.
Having already amassed 10,640 Test runs at 50.19, Jayawardene needs just one ton in Hobart to equal Waugh's feat of 32 Test centuries.
By the New Year, Jayawardene could surpass Waugh (10,927) on Test cricket's all-time run scoring list if he tallies 288 runs against the Australians.
An additional 72 runs would see him become the first Sri Lankan to reach 11,000 Test runs, a scoring mountain just six players, Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting, Rahul Dravid, Jacques Kallis, Brian Lara and Allan Border have conquered.
Ponting mastered all conditions in his march to 13,378 Test runs and Bayliss sees strands of the former Australian skipper in Jayawardene.
"He's up there with Ricky, no doubt. Mahela has been superb, like (Kumar) Sangakkara. He has been so good over a lot of years and in all conditions as well," News.com.au quoted Bayliss, as saying.
"One of his great attributes is that he has unbelievable concentration. Once he gets in, he makes a lot of big scores. He can bat all day and I've seen him bat a day-and-a-half to score 200," he added.
"Once he gets in, he is very difficult to remove. He has a fairly simple technique so not a lot can go wrong with him. He is one player Australia will have to dismiss early because if they don't he is capable of going on and making big scores," he said.