Sri Lanka legend Mahela Jayawardene was one of the finest middle-order batters of his era. Along with Rahul Dravid and Ricky Ponting, Jayawardene was arguably one of the top three No. 3 batters of his time. He faced some of the toughest fast bowlers cricket has ever produced. From Allan Donald to Glenn McGrath, Jayawardene was tested against the best of the pacers of late 1990s and 2000s.
However, if there is one bowler whom Jayawardene had a tough time facing was the legendary Wasim Akram. The former Pakistan captain was at the top of his game in 1997 when Jayawardene made his international debut. By then, Akram had strongly established himself as one of the best fast bowlers going around, if not the greatest, and was giving a tough time to the batters with his reverse-swing, something that has a legend of its own.
“Hands down, Wasim Akram. I made my debut when he [Akram] was at his peak or the backend of his career. It was a nightmare to face him. It was tough because he is challenging you with the new ball, he is coming with the old ball. It doesn’t matter what format it is. It was 4.00 p.m. in the afternoon of the second day of a Test and he is still going to beat your bat,” Jayawardene said on the ICC Review Show.