Kumar Sangakkara’s farewell speech

Posted on 24 August 2015 by admin

Your excellency, the President of Sri Lanka, the honourable Prime Minister, Members of Parliament, all the well wishers and the invitees, fans, all my friends, my family – who are all here, which is a rare occasion that all of us are together – Virat Kohli and the Indian team, Angelo and my team, I have got so many people to thank here.

I will start off with my school – Trinity College, Kandy. Trinity College gave me a fantastic ground there in Kandy. It was an amazing school to go to. I owe a lot of who I am today to the grounding and foundation I got there. To all my coaches – I had so many because my father used to take me to so many coaches when I was young – a big thank you.

To all my past captains, to Sri Lanka Cricket, to all my team-mates, thank you very much for everything that you've done for me. The support that I received, the inspiration, the drive and the commitment you have shown, not just to the game but also to each other and to me, I value all very, very highly. I am going to miss all that chat we had in the dressing room.

To Charlie and Suthami Austin, thank you very much for managing me. You've become much more than managing, you've become family. I know I haven't thanked you enough in the past but today I'd like to say a huge thank you to Charlie and Suthami for being friends and being my managers and most of all for making me the godfather of your beautiful children.

I didn't have to look far for inspiration (gets emotional). My parents are here. I didn't have to look far. I had amazing siblings. I am blessed with a wonderful family. I was blessed to be born as your children. When I look up at the box, people that I've known for 30 years, friends, family, everyone is here and to see that they love me is great and it will be my greatest achievement.

Lot of people ask me who inspired me and I always say I didn't have to look far for inspiration. I am sorry I don't want to embarrass you too much, but I didn't have to look far from my home for inspiration because I have the most amazing parents that anyone could wish for.

I had amazing siblings and all the support, the love that they showed over the years, whether I played cricket or not, whether I did well or not, the only place I could go and feel safe was home and thank you 'amma' (mother) and 'apachchi' (father). Thank you.

It's been one of the most special privileges of my life to play in front of the Sri Lankan people and Sri Lankan fans. I'm especially thankful to your love and support. My innings has ended. I won't play international cricket again. But I'll come with you Khettarama, to Galle, to Tamil Union, and to SSC to watch the young cricketers play.

To Virat and his team, thank you most of all for the wonderful cricket that you've played. I can't ask for anything more than tough cricket when I'm leaving and you guys over the years have been our toughest opponents.

We've planned to beat you, we have at times and at other times we have failed, but thank you so much for putting in that effort. It doesn't matter whether we lost today, we will try to beat you again in the next game, but thank you for the toughness, thank you for giving no quarter, and thank you for really making it a privilege of mine to play against you.

And to Angelo and the team… Angie you've got an amazing team, you've got an amazing future and I just hope you will work hard and enjoy this sport, this sport we only play for a short times. It comes and goes, but don't be afraid. Take pride in what you do, don't be afraid to lose when you are searching for a win, and keep Sri Lanka and the flag flying high.

Thank you.

Kumar Sangakkara officially ended his career as an international cricketer to rapturous applause from fans, family and well-wishers on Monday. The cheer was led by Sri Lanka's President Maithripala Sirisena, who offered the iconic cricketer the post of Sri Lanka's High Commissioner to United Kingdom.

In a special ceremony to bid Sangakkara farewell after India won the second Test to level the three-Test series 1-1, Sirisena hailed the cricketer's contribution both on and off the field.

"He has been a great face for our country and it gives me immense pleasure in offering him the post of High Commissioner to the UK," President Sirisena said.

The words were received by thousands of fans around P Sara Oval with great enthusiasm. Sangakkara – ever the gentleman though – smiled his gratitude without taking an immediate call on the offer. Sangakkara has played for English County Surrey this season.

The Sri Lankan President though was hardly the only one hailing the veteran player who featured in 134 Tests and 404 ODIs.

The long list of dignitaries included Sri Lanka's World Cup-winning captain Arjuna Ranatunga and former India captain Sunil Gavaskar – apart from Sangakkara's family and other noted figures.

Gavaskar – being the only Indian on the podium – took it upon himself to congratulate Sangakkara and thank him for his key role in international cricket.

"It has been a great pleasure watching you play all these years and I truly wish you the best for the future. On a light note, I also extend an invitation to join us in the former cricketer's club," said Gavaskar, much to the loud and youthful amusement of Sangakkara.

Virat Kohli – on behalf of the Indian team – presented a signed jersey and congratulated him for an excellent career.

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Kumar Sangakkara Wins Outstanding Contribution To Sport Award

Posted on 18 April 2015 by admin

Sri Lankan batsman Kumar Sangakkara has picked up an Outstanding Contribution to Sport award at the fifth annual Asian Awards in London. Sangakkara was presented with his award by former England footballer Gary Lineker at the global celebration of Pan-Asian excellence at London's Grosvenor House Hotel. The left-hander, who will make London his home this summer while playing for Surrey, emulates Sachin Tendulkar in winning an Asian Award. Sangakkara recently retired from international cricket following a distinguished and successful career in which he played 130 Tests, 404 One-Day Internationals and 56 Twenty20 Internationals. 

He featured in two 50-over World Cup finals in 2007 and 2011, as well as three Twenty20 World Cup finals in 2009, 2012 and 2014, helping Sri Lanka win the latter of those three contests. Captain of his country between 2009 and 2011, he has represented Nondescripts, Kings XI Punjab, Warwickshire, Deccan Chargers, Sunrisers Hyderabad, Durham and now Surrey as well as the Asian Cricket Council XI and the World XI. Other award winners on the night included Shah Rukh Khan – also owner of the Kolkata Knight Riders – who picked up the Outstanding Achievement in Cinema award. The Asian Awards recognise and reward outstanding achievements across 11 categories and are open to individuals born (or with direct family origins in) throughout Asia including India, China, Pakistan, Japan, etc.The Charity Partner for The Asian Awards is Prince Charles’, The British Asian Trust, which brings together, philanthropists, corporates, trusts and foundations that are passionate about giving to South AsiaThe awards process identifies individuals who parallel the achievements of great and iconic figures of the past; world-changers whose creativity touches, enriches and inspires us in our daily livesPartners of the 5th Asian Awards include Chivas, Chopard, Accenture and Porsche.

© Cricket World 2015.

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Sangakkara, Mahela bid adieu to ODI cricket

Posted on 18 March 2015 by admin

Kumar Sangakkara bid farewell to limited overs cricket today, disappointed with a World Cup quarter-final defeat but happy that Sri Lanka were in a better place than when he came into the side in 2000. The elegant lefthander scored 45 runs against South Africa to take his tournament tally to 541, including his record four successive centuries, but it never looked like being enough as Sri Lanka were blown away at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

"It's disappointing to lose but to win against a side like South Africa we have to do really well," he told reporters.

"If you take our innings, it was a lot of stop starts, but a lot of wickets falling together … We weren't good enough today. "Someone has got to lose in a quarter-final. It's a do-or-die situation. Disappointments are a part of our career, and you just take it on the chin and move on."

The 37-year-old, who will continue playing tests, departs having accumulated 14,234 one-day runs — second only to Indian great Sachin Tendulkar — and the greatest number of dismissals by a wicketkeeper. Although his hopes of playing in a third successive World Cup final and finally winning one have been dashed, Sangakkara thinks the future for Sri Lankan cricket is bright.

"We have a lot of people in the dressing room who would have learned a lot from this World Cup," he added. "I think the team is in great hands. Angelo Mathews has been such an impressive leader right throughout. We've had a few injuries this tour, but if you look at the players we have, you can't but be positive about the future. "I definitely think Sri Lankan cricket has progressed leaps and bounds from where we started and from where I started, and I have no fear about the future of Sri Lankan cricket. I think our guys will do very, very well."

Sangakkara's fellow former captain Mahela Jayawardene, also 37, is also calling time on his one-day career after the tournament, bringing an end to a career in which he has scored 12,650 runs in 448 matches. "He's going to be sorely missed," Sangakkara said. "I'm sure he's going to be thoroughly disappointed today, but also, sometimes there is a bit of relief, as well, when your career ends.

"The high-pressure situations, the warmups, the ice baths, the recovery sessions, all of that, all repeated over 16, 17 years can get a bit much." Sangakkara was clearly speaking also for himself and, looking down at the tape bound around his battered fingers, said he had no regrets about deciding to walk away. "Retiring from cricket is not about form. I feel that the time is now and it's right," he said. "I've tried to give everything I have when I've played the game, the game goes on. You can't hold onto it and people shouldn't be too sentimental. "I think a lot better players and greater players have gone, and the game has gone on and there are new players who take the mantle, and in my case it won't be any different."(Reuters) –

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Sri Lanka’s Kumar Sangakkara – An Iconic Superstar in the world stage

Posted on 11 March 2015 by admin

Hobart (Australia) (AFP) – Kumar Sangakkara became the first batsman to score four consecutive one-day centuries as Sri Lanka thrashed Scotland by 148 runs in the World Cup in Hobart on Wednesday. The left-hander hit 124 off 95 balls and Tillakaratne Dilshan scored 104 as the Islanders piled up 363 for nine and then bowled Scotland out for 215 in 43.1 overs in the Pool A match at the Bellerive Oval.

Skipper Preston Mommsen (60) and Freddie Coleman (70) put on 118 for the fourth wicket but they provided the only Scottish challenge as seamers Nuwan Kulasekara and Dushmantha Chameera grabbed three wickets each.

Sangakkara also took two catches to overtake Adam Gilchrist as the most successful World Cup wicket-keeper with 54 dismissals. The Australian had 52 victims to his name.

Sri Lanka ended the league with four wins from six matches and now await an undecided opponent in the first quarter-final at the Sydney Cricket Ground on March 18.

Scotland’s fifth successive defeat means they will take an early flight home after their final league match against Australia at the same venue on Saturday.

Sangakkara, 37, who will retire from one-day cricket after the World Cup, had made 105 not out against Bangladesh, an unbeaten 117 against England and 104 against Australia.

He is the the leading scorer in the ongoing tournament with 496 runs from six games, followed in second place by 38-year-old Dilshan with 395 runs.

The pair put on 195 for the second wicket after Lahiru Thirimanne had been snapped up in the slips off Alasdair Evans in the sixth over after Sri Lanka won the toss and elected to bat.

Scotland had to wait till the 35th over for their next success as Sangakkara and Dilshan toyed with the bowling in good batting conditions.

Both batsmen reached their centuries off successive balls from Kyle Coetzer in the 34th over, Dilshan taking a single to record his second hundred in the tournament before Sangakkara followed next ball with two runs.

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Sri Lanka's Angelo Mathews plays a shot at the …
Sri Lanka’s Angelo Mathews plays a shot at the Bellerive Oval ground during the Cricket World Cu …

Sangakkara leapfrogged six players who had scored three ODI centuries in a row — Zaheer Abbas and Saeed Anwar of Pakistan, the South African trio of Herschelle Gibbs, AB de Villiers and Quinton de Kock, and Ross Taylor of New Zealand.

Dilshan followed his unbeaten 161 against Bangladesh with his fourth World Cup century before he holed out in the deep off seamer Josh Davey.

Davey struck two quick blows soon after, getting rid of Mahela Jayawardene and Sangakkara off successive balls as Sri Lanka slipped from 216 for one to 244 for four.

Jayawardene, 37, who will also retire after the World Cup having already quit Test cricket, made two when he was caught at mid-off by Calum MacLeod.

Sangakkara edged the next delivery to the wicket-keeper, sparking wild celebrations among the Scottish supporters in the stands.

Skipper Angelo Mathews smashed 51 off 21 balls at the end, slamming four sixes in a row off spinner Matt Machan before being caught next ball on the mid-wicket fence.

Sri Lanka, who were 216 for one at one stage, lost eight wickets for 147 runs as the later batsmen attacked the inexperienced Scotland attack.



Melbourne (AFP) – Kumar Sangakkara said he was proud to have "kept pace with the game" as he marked his 400th one-day international with a century against Bangladesh in their World Cup clash at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Thursday. The 37-year-old left-hander, who plans to retire from the white-ball game after the World Cup, struck his 22nd ODI century off just off 73 balls including 12 fours and a six before finishing on 105 not out. But for much of his innings he played second-fiddle to Tillakaratne Dilshan, who made 161 not out in the pair's unbroken second-wicket stand of 210 that saw Sri Lanka to a commanding total of 332 for one in their 50 overs. "It's nice to get a hundred," said Sangakkara at the mid-innings break. "Dilshan batted brilliantly and the innings was set-up by that opening partnership (of 122 between Dilshan and Lahiru Thirimanne, who made 52). "The boys were wishing me luck for my 400th game so it was nice to get the hundred," said Sangakkara. "You have to evolve with the game. I've tried to keep pace with the guys and innovate." Sangakkara joined two Sri Lankans — Sanath Jayasuriya (445) and current team-mate Mahela Jayawardene (444) — in a '400-club' of most appearances headed by India great Sachin Tendulkar of India, who played 463 ODI matches. Sangakkara, the prolific left-handed batsman and wicketkeeper who made his debut in 2000, is due to retire from one-day cricket, along with Jayawardene, after the World Cup.

Landmark night for Sangakkara in Sydney

Sydney (AFP) – Sri Lanka's Kumar Sangakkara became the first batsman to score hundreds in three consecutive World Cup matches when he made a brilliant run-a-ball century against Australia in a Pool A match in Sydney on Sunday. The 37-year-old left-hander's 24th ton in his 402nd match at this level also saw him equal the overall ODI record for consecutive hundreds held jointly by the Pakistan pair of Zaheer Abbas and Saeed Anwar, the South African trio of Herschelle Gibbs, AB de Villiers and Quinton de Kock and New Zealand's Ross Taylor. Earlier, Sangakkara became only the second batsman after Sachin Tendulkar to score 14,000 ODI runs when he got to 39 with a paddled two off spinner Glenn Maxwell. Sangakkara was eventually out for 104 when caught in the deep by Aaron Finch off James Faulkner. Now retired India great Tendulkar remains way out in front at the top of the ODI run charts with 18,246 in 463 matches.

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Scotland v Sri Lanka, World Cup 2015, Group A, Hobart March 11 – Sangakkara, Dilshan tons set up big win

Posted on 11 March 2015 by admin

Sri Lanka 363 for 9 (Sangakkara 124, Dilshan 104, Mathews 51, Davey 3-63) beat Scotland 215 (Coleman 70, Mommsen 60, Kulasekara 3-20, Chameera 3-51) by 148 runs.

Kumar Sangakkara is retiring from one-day internationals at the end of this tournament. You have to wonder why. But regardless of how far Sri Lanka progress, Sangakkara will at least go out in personal glory. At Bellerive Oval, he became the first man in ODI history to score centuries in four consecutive innings, and the first to make four hundreds in one World Cup, and together with Tillakaratne Dilshan he ensured a comfortable win over Scotland.

The 148-run victory should mean Sri Lanka finish third in Pool A, assuming Australia beat Scotland and New Zealand defeat Bangladesh. Scotland showed some fight with the bat, but the 195-run partnership compiled by Sangakkara and Dilshan was the difference. To cap off his outstanding day, Sangakkara also moved past Adam Gilchrist to top the all-time World Cup wicketkeeping dismissal tally.

Sangakkara and Dilshan have become one of cricket’s most consistent double-acts and this was their 20th century stand in ODIs; only Sourav Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar have combined for more. Sangakkara finished with 124 and Dilshan made 104; Angelo Mathews later added the second-fastest fifty of this World Cup, off 20 balls, but a series of late wickets meant Sri Lanka missed the opportunity for a 400-plus total.

Scotland’s target was 364 and perhaps on 364 days of the year it would be an unrealistic aim against a Full Member. This was one of those days, although Freddie Coleman and Preston Mommsen ensured respectability. Throughout the tournament Scotland have shown enterprise and resolve, impressed observers while coming up short. It was the case once again.

When Kyle Coetzer sent a return catch to Lasith Malinga in the first over, Scotland might have had flashbacks to their being routed by Malinga for 101 in their only previous ODI meeting in 2011. The slow, shaky start continued when Calum MacLeod was bowled by Nuwan Kulasekara for 11 and Matt Machan was trapped lbw by Dilshan for 19.

But Mommsen and Coleman took their lead from the Sangakkara-Dilshan example earlier in the day, finding the gaps, rotating the strike, picking up boundaries. When they came together Scotland needed 320 at more than eight an over, so their efforts were unlikely to affect the outcome of the match, but they at least made Sri Lanka work for it.

Coleman, brought in for his second match of the tournament, took the lead and struck seven boundaries, including a beautiful straight drive off Dushmantha Chameera. Mommsen cover drove well and pulled when the opportunity arose, and both men frustrated Sri Lanka, bringing up half-centuries in reasonably brisk time.

For 75 minutes they worked together before Mommsen drove on the up off Thisara Perera and was caught by a juggling Lahiru Thirimanne for 60 off 75 balls. Coleman followed four overs later when he holed out to long-on off Kulasekara for 70 from 74 balls, but his maiden ODI half-century – which had come off 44 balls – showed his class.

Coleman had been dropped on 54 when Kusal Perera somehow contrived to grass a simple chance from a slice to deep cover, and it was indicate of a Sri Lanka that seemed happy enough to go through the motions in the field, knowing that victory was inevitable. In the end it was: Richie Berrington hung around for 29 but, the lower order fizzled out in the 44th over.

Sri Lanka’s batting had been just too strong. As usual, Sangakkara’s runs came all around the wicket as he picked the gaps or cleared the field with ease. His only half-chance came on 84 when he crunched a full toss from Machan and a diving MacLeod at midwicket got his left hand to the ball on its way to the boundary. Otherwise, Sangakkara was clinical, and struck 13 fours and four sixes.

After reaching his hundred, he plundered 24 off an over from Alasdair Evans during the Powerplay, his footwork and touch allowing him to place the ball wherever Mommsen left a gap. A six slashed over point and a scoop to the fine-leg boundary were especially appealing.

Dilshan and Sangakkara had brought up their centuries from consecutive balls, Dilshan’s coming from his 97th delivery with a single to fine leg off Coetzer, and Sangakkara’s arriving next ball with a two edged to third man off Coetzer from his 86th delivery. They were parted in the next over, but had provided plenty of entertainment.

Dilshan’s hundred was his second of this tournament and he struck 10 fours and one six, and was powerful square of the wicket on both sides. He pulled Josh Davey with disdain, including for a six over square leg off one knee. Dilshan finally fell on 104 when he was caught at mid-off, giving Davey the first of three wickets.

The end of the Sangakkara-Dilshan partnership prompted a minor flurry of wickets. Mahela Jayawardene was unable to immediately click and skied a catch to mid-off against Davey, who next ball had Sangakkara caught behind trying to slice over point. Davey missed the hat-trick but had moved to 14 wickets for the World Cup, making him the tournament’s leading wicket-taker.

Mathews and Kusal enjoyed the opportunity to slog with licence, until Kusal was caught in the deep off Rob Taylor for 24 off 13. But it was Mathews who really provided the late highlights, punishing Coleman for dropping him at deep midwicket off Machan on 21.

In Machan’s next over, Mathews clubbed four consecutive sixes all over Coleman or just wide of him, seemingly taunting him over the missed chance in the previous over. The fourth of those sixes brought Mathews his half-century, but Coleman had his revenge next ball when he caught an attempt at a fifth successive six at deep midwicket with Mathews on 51 off 21.

Sri Lanka’s lower order was unable to maintain the momentum: Coleman took another two catches in the same position, and Scotland had done well to peg Sri Lanka back somewhat. Their day started well when Evans moved the ball away from Lahiru Thirimanne in the sixth over and had him caught at slip for 4. But all that did was bring Dilshan and Sangakkara together.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @brydoncoverdale

Courtesy: © ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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Sangakkara – 11, chasing Don Bradman’s record of 12 double centuries

Posted on 04 January 2015 by admin

Sri Lankan great – Kumar Sangakkara is reconsidering retirement plans after his 203 against New Zealand Sunday put him one behind Australian legend Don Bradman for the most double centuries. The 37-year-old had indicated the second Test in Wellington could be his last with the intention of retiring from all international cricket after the World Cup which starts next month. But after a match-changing innings of 203 to lead Sri Lanka out of trouble and put them in control of the Test at the Basin Reserve, Sangakkara said the lure of overtaking Bradman meant he may extend his career.

“I would love to,” he said, reflecting on the impact his seven-hour innings had on a match where he engineered Sri Lanka’s recovery from 78 for five to 356 all out and a first innings lead of 135.
“It just depends on how everything pans out after this World Cup. It’s really hard to predict what will happen and what my thoughts will be at the end of the World Cup about my future.
“I’ve had a chat with the (Sri Lanka) selectors and promised them I will really have a chat and reconsider to see whether there is a few more months of cricket in me Test-wise.

Sangakkara, the most prolific Test batsman in the world last year with 1,493 runs, began this year by becoming the fifth player, and the fastest, to reach 12,000 Test runs. He crossed that threshold when he reached five against New Zealand on Saturday in his 129th Test, and went on to score another 198 runs before he was the ninth wicket to fall. Of his 200-plus innings, five have been away from home to equal the record held by Bradman, Len Hutton and Brian Lara.

He is now fourth on the list of century-makers with 38, behind India’s Sachin Tendulkar (51), South Africa’s Jacques Kallis (45) and Australia’s Ricky Ponting (41). Among the top echelon of Test batsmen, Sangakkara’s average of 58.92 is second only to Bradman.

“The desire is always there,” Sangakkara said as he weighed up the statistics against thoughts of retirement and spending more time with family and business interests.

“It’s never the lack of desire or the lack of pride you take in playing for your country that makes you take a position to say ‘that’s enough’. It’s just a case of sometime you just know it.”

Should Sangakkara extend his career, Sri Lanka have Test series coming up this year against Pakistan, India, the West Indies and New Zealand again.

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Kumar Sangakkara scores 10th double century and second only to Bradman

Posted on 10 August 2014 by admin


A magnificent double hundred (221) – his 10th – from stylish left hander KUMAR SANGAKKARA which enabled him to go past West Indian champion batsman Brian Lara was the highlight of the 4th day’s play in the First Test between Sri Lanka and Pakistan at the Galle International Cricket Stadium here, today. At the close Pakistan who made 451 in the first innings and batting a second time after Sri Lanka declared at 533 for 9 were 4 for one, trailing by 78 runs. Kurram Manzoor was caught behind by Niroshan Dickwella off Herath for 3.

Sangakkara is now second in the all time list of great batsmen who have scored double hundreds with the greatest batsman that the world has seen or will ever see SIR DONALD BRADMAN of Australia heading the list with 12 double hundreds. Sangakkara needs two more to be bracketed and another to go past the PRINCE of batsmen.

When on 199 he pushed a delivery from Saeed Ajmal to point and scampered for the epoch making run. It was greeted with the lighting of fire crackers and a standing ovation from everyone and handshakes from the Pakistan players.

There was no punching and jumping in the air. He graciously acknowledged the cheers by removing his helmet and waving his bat to the spectators acknowledging them followed by a bear hug from his partner Dilruwan Perera.It was a marathon innings that lasted 425 balls, 698 minutes and which was studded with 22 fours. It is knocks like this that gems are made of.

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169 agaInst South Africa: “My best ODI knock“. says Kumar Sangakkara

Posted on 21 July 2013 by admin

Kumar Sangakkara’s career best 169 against South Africa on Saturday is the third best score by a Sri Lankan and the best at home.

by Rex Clementine

As Sri Lanka took a 1-0 lead in the five match ODI series against South Africa, the man who made the 180 run win possible Kumar Sangakkara broke many records on Saturday. Sangakkara’s breathtaking 169 is the third highest individual score by a Sri Lankan in ODIs and the highest at home.

Over the years, Sangakkara has been quite clever at playing the pull shot and the drive, but on Saturday there was a new dimension to his game as he played the paddle sweep and the slog sweep quite expertly and a couple of them over the rope as well. It was his career best score (previous best 138 against India in Jaipur in 2005) and called the knock his best in ODI cricket.

"Definitely this is my best knock," he told The Island. "I had one other knock which was a 90 odd off 40 balls against India in a game where we chased 400 runs. That was a pretty special knock as well. Unfortunately we fell short by three runs on that instance which was disappointing. This is definitely my best knock."

It looked as if Sri Lanka had erred by not sending Thisara Perera in to utilize the Batting Power Play to the maximum, but Sangakkara introduced his new style of play with some unconventional stroke play. As a result, Sri Lanka scored 46 runs off the Batting Power Play while the last ten overs were even better as 103 runs were scored, most of them from the bat of Sangakkara.

Sangakkara shed light to his game. "I have been trying free hitting. I go to the middle without any nets and try and hit fours and sixes. Graham Ford our coach has been very insistent that we work on reverse sweeps, sweeps and paddle sweeps. We have been doing that because Graham has designated specific net sessions for us for new kind of stroke making. We go on the bowling machine and try paddle sweeping fast bowlers. Having done all that, you need to get to a situation in your innings where you are able to use all those strokes. Then your basics become even more important."

A Test average of above 50 is considered the hallmark of a great player and Sangakkara is in that category averaging 54 in the longer version of the game. No Sri Lankan in the history has managed an ODI average of over 40 and Sangakkara seems to be quietly getting there. In 350 ODIs, the left-handed batsman has scored over 11,500 runs at 39:70.

"It feels good not because of the 40 average mark, but that means that every time you are playing you are contributing significantly which is your job as a batsman. In ODI cricket the volume of runs is important and so is the strike rate. Your ability to adapt is important as well. There are lots of factors that come into the ODI game. Whatever the situations that you go to bat in, if you are contributing more often than not that’s the right way to do."

Former great Aravinda de Silva’s 145 against Kenya in Kandy in 1996 remained the highest score by a Sri Lankan at home and it was broken by Sangakkara on Saturday, who incidentally had been at his school ground to witness the epic World Cup encounter 17 year ago.

"I was at school and I went to watch that World Cup match to Asgirya. The way Sanath started and the way Asanka Gurusinghe batted I remember very well. Asanka actually hit a six over the sightscreen into Mahaiyawa. Then Aravinda came and demolished the Kenyans. As a youngster, it was an awesome experience to watch him play. Aravinda has been in my view one of the top five batters of all time in terms of ability and talent.

Sangakkara has played a lot against South Africa and in assessing the current attack; he said he expected a tougher fight in the next game on Tuesday. "They are capable bowlers. The problem for them is the wickets they are bowling on. Most of them haven’t toured Sri Lanka before. Our wickets are quite different from Indian wickets. It takes a while for the bowlers to get used to them. Even Morne Morkel wouldn’t have played in Sri Lanka before. For such an attack to adapt so quickly is going to be difficult. They have very good spinners, but bowling on our wickets is another thing. You have to vary your pace and length quite often and our guys play a lot better on these conditions. If Styen and Kallis had been there it would have taken a complete different dimension. Make up of the side would have been different as well. One thing that we do know about these guys is that they are very quick to learn and adapt. So we’ve got to be careful in the second game knowing that they would have done lot of work and analysis. They have the guys who can execute the plans. "

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