Jayasuriya wins Sri Lankan parliament seat

COLOMBO: Veteran cricketer Sanath Jayasuriya has won a seat in Sri Lanka''s parliament, a local official said Friday.

Jayasuriya contested Thursday''s polls for President Mahinda Rajapakse''s ruling United People''s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) and left the island a day before voting to play at an Indian tournament.

The 40-year-old batsman and political novice was given special permission to cast his ballot on Wednesday, a day ahead of the nationwide election.

Jayasuriya garnered 74,352 votes to win his seat in the southern district of Matara, an official with the local election commission told a news agency.

Jayasuriya retired from Test matches in 2007 to prolong his career in the shorter forms of the game. He has been included in Sri Lanka''s squad for the World Twenty20 tournament in the Caribbean from April 30-May 16.

Sri Lanka''s 1996 World Cup winning skipper Arjuna Ranatunga was also a candidate in the elections, representing the opposition Democratic National Alliance. He entered politics after retiring from cricket.

With counting still in progress, it was still unclear if Ranatunga would join Jayasuriya in parliament.