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ODI GOAT: M. Waugh v Jayasuriya

13 April 2016

Mark Waugh Sanath Jayasuriya

They entertained cricket fans with their fireworks at the top of the batting order, but who gets your vote in this round one match-up?

The #ODIGOAT is cricket.com.au's knockout competition to determine the greatest ODI player of all time. We've selected our top 64 ODI players and now we're asking YOU to do the hard work – that is, narrow it down to one. Set up in much the same way as a tennis tournament, each day you'll see head-to-head match-ups, with the winner of those progressing to the next round to square off with their next challenger. From 64, we'll go to 32, to 16, 8, 4 and ultimately our final. So cast your VOTE and decide just who is the greatest ODI player in history!

MARK WAUGH (AUSTRALIA)

The numbers: Matches: 244 | Runs: 8,500 | Average: 39.35 | SR: 76.90 | 100s: 18 | HS: 173 | Wickets: 85 | Average: 34.56 | SR: 43.3 | Economy: 4.78 | BB: 5-24 | 5w: 1

WATCH: Mix Tape: Magnificent Mark Waugh

Why he makes the list: Many of today's kiddies who tune in to the Big Bash every summer know Mark Waugh primarily as that guy who sits alongside 'Gilly' and 'Punter' in the commentary box. Sure, most of them probably have some distant connection with the 'Waugh brothers'; those almost mythical twins who played back in the day and were apparently pretty handy. But to describe ME Waugh as a 'handy' one-day player would be akin to calling Shane Warne a satisfactory spinner. At the 1996 World Cup – probably the younger twin's peak as an ODI player – Waugh was a match for even Tendulkar and Lara, becoming the first man to score three hundreds at one edition of the tournament. Brutal and beautiful, powerful and precise, Waugh, more than any other batsman through that era, was the man upon whom Australia built their success, which culminated in their remarkable 1999 World Cup triumph. His transformation from a very good to great one-day batsman coincided with his promotion to the top of the order, where he stroked 15 of his 18 hundreds – then the most by an Australian. In the field, he was peerless, hanging onto spectacular catches in the cordon or around the circle with a nonchalance that often belied the level of difficulty. And with the ball, be it with his medium pacers in his early years or his off-spin later on, he had a canny knack for claiming a quick wicket just when it was required. 

Performance we loved: Waugh had been shifted up to the opener's spot only three months prior to the '96 World Cup and kick-started his top-order career with a century against Sri Lanka. By the time of Australia's quarter-final clash with the Kiwis in Chennai, he'd added another two to his collection and was showing no signs of slowing down. This innings topped the lot. Still to be influenced by the T20 revolution, limited-overs totals in the mid-90s were a far cry from today's increasingly outrageous marks, so when Australia were set 287 to win at a venue with substandard lighting and a dew-soaked outfield, it was advantage New Zealand. In fact, only once at a World Cup had a higher total been chased. Enter Waugh. Reinvented and seemingly rejuvenated as an ODI opener, his 110 (112 balls) set the tempo for the innings and laid the platform for what was in the end a comfortable chase. Unhurried, unfussed and unflustered, it was vintage Waugh.

SANATH JAYASURIYA (SRI LANKA)

The numbers: Matches: 445 | Runs: 13,430 | Average: 32.36 | SR: 91.20 | 100s: 28 | HS: 189 | Wickets: 323 | Average: 36.75 | SR: 46.0 | Economy: 4.78 | BB: 6-29 | 5w: 4

WATCH: Mix Tape: Best of super Sanath

Why he makes the list: For a small man, Sanath Jayasuriya wielded his blade with serious power. Muscular forearms combined with hawk-like vision to produce one of the most devastating batsmen in the history of ODI cricket. Bowlers who pitched short or wide immediately rued their inaccuracy; invariably they'd be forced to watch on as the ball flashed behind point, through cover or square on the leg side to the boundary. The left-hander was at the heart of an ODI revolution in the mid-1990s, after he was promoted to the top of the order by Arjuna Ranatunga and given a license to make hay in the initial 15 overs when the field was up and quick runs were in the offing. No-one performed the role as effectively – or spectacularly – as Jayasuriya, who scored 28 hundreds as an opening batsman across almost two decades in the position (second only to Sachin Tendulkar's 45). In Jayasuriya, Sri Lanka had a world-class aggressor who set the tone for their new-age agenda, and his performances in their triumphant 1996 World Cup campaign – most notably a pair of match-winning knocks against India and England – were critical to his team's success. The hundreds flowed thick and fast from there – highlighted by 189 against India in 2000, still the highest score by a Sri Lankan – while with the ball his left-arm orthodox tweakers were a regular and important part of the make-up of his country's attack through to his retirement in 2011, which ended a 22-year career at the top. 

Performance we loved: Perhaps invigorated by a World Cup title, Jayasuriya's first ODI innings after claiming the '96 title sent records tumbling and set a new benchmark in the format. Against Pakistan in Singapore, he took 32 balls to reach his 50, but needed only half as many again to blitz to three figures. A century in 48 balls obliterated the previous mark for the fastest-ever ODI hundred (Mohammad Azharuddin's 62-ball effort in 1988), while the 11 sixes in his 134 (65 balls) surpassed Gordon Greenidge's eight, made in 1989. 

#ODIGOAT First Round: Tendulkar v Sharma

#ODIGOAT First Round: Akram v Starc

#ODIGOAT First Round: Garner v Donald

#ODIGOAT First Round: Richards v de Silva

#ODIGOAT First Round: Azharuddin v Miandad

#ODIGOAT First Round: Dev v Vettori

#ODIGOAT First Round: Lloyd v Border

#ODIGOAT First Round: Jones v Clarke

#ODIGOAT First Round: Waqar v Johnson

#ODIGOAT First Round: Warne v Kumble

#ODIGOAT First Round: Hooper v S. Waugh

#ODIGOAT First Round: Imran v Hadlee

ODI GOAT bracket

About the Writer

 @AdamBurnett09
@AdamBurnett09

Adam Burnett is senior news editor of bigbash.com.au. He previously wrote for and edited at Inside Cricket magazine and The Sydney Morning Herald in Australia and The Telegraph and The Guardian in the UK.

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