After impressing national selectors as a schoolboy cricketer in 1988, Jayasuriya was chosen to tour Pakistan with Sri Lanka's 'A' team.
He blazed two double centuries during the tour, and quickly established a reputation as one of the world's most feared cricketers.
Jayasuriya made his Test debut in 1991 against New Zealand in Hamilton but only became a permanent part of the side after a thrilling century against Australia in Adelaide where he famously carted Shane Warne around the park.
Later that year, the 36-year-old left-handed opener paired with Romesh Kaluwitharana and inflicted telling blows to help Sri Lanka win the 1996 World Cup. He was also named Player of the Tournament.
In 1997, he hit Sri Lanka's highest individual score in Test cricket when he hammered 340 against India and added a world record partnership of 527 with Roshan Mahanama for the second wicket.
He succeeded Arjuna Ranatunga in 1999 and became Sri Lanka's most successful captain with a phenomenal winning record of 10 consecutive Test Matches.
In 2000 he scored Sri Lanka's highest One Day International (ODI) score when he hammered 189 against India and missed the world record by just five runs.
He stepped down as captain in 2003 but continued to produce several tall scores as an opening batsman.
He became in 2005 the first Sri Lankan to play in 100 Test Matches and later that year surpassed 10,000 ODI runs, becoming only the fourth player to do so.
He was subsequently plagued with injuries after falling during a boat ride with the team and dislocating his right shoulder.
Controversially left out of Sri Lanka's tour to Australia in 2006, selectors were forced to recall him after President Mahinda Rajapakse requested an investigation into his omission.
Hastily flown to Australia, he scored a sensational match winning 100 against the hosts, two days after arriving in Sydney.
He announced his retirement Friday, three days before the second Test against Pakistan in Kandy. But he has made himself available for One-day Internationals till the 2007 World Cup.
Jayasuriya has represented Sri Lanka in 101 Tests, making 6599 runs with 14 hundreds at an average of 41:76. In 357 ODIs he has scored 10,625 runs with 19 hundreds and 60 fifties at an average of 31:90.
His left arm spin brought him 92 scalps in Tests and 273 wickets in ODIs.
At the time of announcing his retirement, he was Sri Lanka's highest run scorer in both forms of the game.