ODI GOAT: Waugh v Jayasuriya

There's no easy choices in the second round as an Australian legend faces off against one of Sri Lanka's finest ever

Adam Burnett & Sam Ferris

23 April 2016, 05:31 PM

The #ODIGOAT is cricket.com.au's knockout competition to determine the greatest ODI player of all time. We started with 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 are now into the round of 32. Next it will be 16, 8, 4 and ultimately our final. So cast your VOTE and decide just who is the greatest ODI player in history!


The numbers: Matches: 325 | Runs: 7,569 | Average: 32.90 | SR: 75.91 | 100s: 3 | HS: 120no | Wickets: 195 | Average: 34.67 | SR: 45.5 | Economy: 4.56 | BB: 4-33

WATCH: Mix Tape: Steve Waugh's ODI magic

ODI GOAT voting: No surprise that Waugh had one of the largest margins of victory in the first round of ODI GOAT voting - a whopping 81 per cent of you picked him over West Indies great Carl Hooper.

Why he makes the list: Australia's 1987 and 1999 World Cup triumphs contained two very different versions of Steve Waugh the ODI cricketer. Waugh burst onto the scene as an all-action allrounder in '86, sending down his fast mediums with vigour and throwing his bat with verve. In his early 20s, he was a genuine wicket-taking option – largely courtesy of his pioneering back-of-the-hand slower ball – as well as a promising middle-order batsman capable of scoring runs quickly at the back-end of an innings. In the intervening years, his bowling receded and his batting went from strength to strength, highlighted by his forcing off-side strokes off the back foot, his withering straight drive, and later, the slog sweep. It wasn't until 1996 that he posted his maiden ODI hundred, but by World Cup '99, Waugh was entrenched at No.5 and about to begin a tournament that would earn him a reputation as cricket's most inspirational leader. For while the '87 triumph was an unexpected highlight during a low time for Australian cricket, victory a dozen years later cemented a belief that Waugh's side could emerge victorious from any situation – perhaps the uncompromising batsman and captain's greatest legacy.  

Performance we loved: Waugh's fingerprints were all over Australia's remarkable 1999 World Cup success. Needing to go unbeaten through their final seven matches, he steeled his team to achieve the improbable, a fact underlined by his high watermark as a one-day player – a determined, backs-to-the-wall 120no that gave Australia a stunning success over arch-rivals South Africa. It was an innings in which Herschelle Gibbs dropped the World Cup, and Waugh took one giant leap towards winning it.


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

ODI GOAT voting: From one Waugh to another. Jayasuriya saw off Steve Waugh's younger brother Mark with three-quarters of the vote in round one. It might not be so easy for Sri Lanka's finest this time around.

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. 

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