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IPL turns friends into foes

Friends and teammates, Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara were like peas in a pod, scripting their opponents' downfall and the ascent of the national side in the last decade that has seen Sri Lanka reach the World Cup finals twice. Somshuvra Laha reports.

india Updated: Apr 26, 2011 23:41 IST
Somshuvra Laha

Friends and teammates, Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara were like peas in a pod, scripting their opponents' downfall and the ascent of the national side in the last decade that has seen Sri Lanka reach the World Cup finals twice.

The IPL has managed to pit them against each other. "I guess he is our enemy tomorrow," smiled Jayawardene, the Kochi Tuskers' skipper, when asked about the prospect of playing against the Deccan Chargers on Wednesday.

Both are batsmen in the conventional mould though Sangakkara stands out as the flashier one. The partnership took another turn when Jayawardene and Sangakkara added 624 against a South Africa attack boasting Dale Steyn and Makhaya Ntini at Colombo in 2006.

Leading in finals
Jayawardene's finest hour came when he led Sri Lanka to the final of the 2007 World Cup against Australia, in which Sangakkara scored a half-century. By then, it was clear that Sangakkara would be Jayawardene's successor.

Far-sighted as he was, Jayawardene quit after the ODI series defeat to India in early 2009 to give Sangakkara enough time to prepare for the World Cup. Sri Lanka again reached the final and this time, Jayawardene obliged Sangakkara with a ton.

Sangakkara quit the ODI and T20 captaincy a day after he was named captain of the Deccan Chargers. A day later, his friend followed suit, stepping down as vice-captain of the national team.

They were inseparable in the IPL too, turning out together for the Kings XI Punjab.