Kumar Sangakkara's Test career in pictures
Thank You Sanga!Kumar Sangakkara’s international career came to an end at Colombo on Monday, with the culmination of the second Test against India. Sri Lanka’s greatest ever batsman failed to produce one final epic knock to save his side from defeat as he has so often done in the past, but that will not take any shine away from this elegant batsman’s glorious Test career.The 37-year-olds signs off from the Test arena as the fifth highest run-getter in history but is at the top of the pile when it comes to left handed batsmen. His 38 Test tons puts him fourth spot overall and 11 of them has been double centuries, only one behind the legendary Sir Donald Bradman. Muttiah Muralitharan, who was pipped by the wicketkeeper-batsman in a recent poll conducted to determine Sri Lanka’s greatest ever crickleter, had this to say about his fellow Kandy-born cricketer: "One of the biggest things that the team will miss is his leadership qualities. Even when he was not the captain, the team looked up to him for advice. Then there is his batting. I feel there was no better No. 3 batsman in the game.”The statistics certainly back Murali’s views. He has scored the most number of Test runs batting at the crucial No 3 spot, while he is only behind, again, Sir Donald Bradman in the batting average as captain of the side (minimum 2000 runs). So Ravi Shastri’s claim that Sangakkara is equal to the ‘Don’ is also not without merit. Yet for all of the praise bestowed upon Sanga, still the feeling persists that he has not gotten his real due. 12,400 runs from just 134 Tests at an average of 57.40 – he was the fastest batsman in terms of innings required to reach 8,000, 9,000, 10,00 (joint), 11,000 and 12,000 runs in Test cricket. It was a true privilege to see this maestro in action.Here’s a look back at some of the most memorable moments from Sangakkara’s Test career.
#1 98 against South Africa, Centurion, 2001
Kumar Sangakkara’s Test career got off of to a tough start with his first six Tests coming against South Africa, in a three-match series home and then away. In the thrid Test at the Centurion, the visitors were bundled out cheaply for 119 in their first innings, in reply to the Proteas total of 378. Asked to follow on, the visitors made a change in ther batting line-up with skipper Sanath Jayasuriya opting to step down to the No 6 spot, thus forcing Sangakkara to open the innings.
Playing in just his sixth Test, Sangakkara delivered against the bowling attack comprising of Shaun Pollock, Makhaya Ntini and Allan Donald scoring a defiant 98 spending clsoe to 330 minutes at the crease. He couldn’t steer Sri Lanka clear of an innings defeat, but that innings truly announced the arrival of Sangakkara as stated by his close friend Mahela Jayawardene recently.
“That knock in South Africa - that first 90-odd he scored - really gave him the confidence to know that he belonged,” Jayawardene said.