An elegant strokemaker with a penchant for huge scores, Jayawardene has been a key component in the Sri Lanka top order since his debut in 1997.
His reputation as one of the most accomplished batsmen in the world had long since been established by the time he took over from Marvan Atapattu as Sri Lanka captain in 2006.
The International Cricket Council recognised his powers of leadership by awarding him the captain of the year award in 2006, and he was named by Wisden as one of their five cricketers of the year in 2007.
Jayawardene led Sri Lanka to the World Cup final against Australia in 2007, and agreed to joined Derbyshire as their overseas player for the 2008 season.
However, he had to cancel the agreement on the eve of the season due to alterations in Sri Lanka's international schedule.