COLOMBO (Reuters) - Former Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene will retire from test cricket following the home series against South Africa and Pakistan, the country's cricket board said on Monday.
"It was not an easy decision to make given that it has been a great privilege and honour representing my country during the past 18 years, but I believe this is the right time," the 37-year-old said in a statement released by Sri Lanka Cricket.
The stylish right-handed batsman is the most capped test player for Sri Lanka with 145 appearances and his 11,493 runs shares sixth spot, along with compatriot Kumar Sangakkara, on the list of highest scorers in the longest format of the game.
One of the most elegant batsmen of his generation, Jayawardene has scored 33 test centuries since his debut against India in 1997 and enjoys a batting average of a little more than 50 runs per innings.
He also had two stints as Sri Lanka's captain and was a safe pair of hands in the slips cordon, evident from his 197 catches in tests.
In April, both Jayawardene and Sangakkara announced their retirements from the shortest format after Sri Lanka won the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh.
Jayawardene will, however, continue playing the 50-over format for Sri Lanka, making himself available for next year's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
The island nation will host South Africa in a two-test series starting on Wednesday before another two-match series against Pakistan next month.
(Writing by Sudipto Ganguly; Editing by John O'Brien)