Sri Lanka's finest in away Tests
In the first innings of the Boxing Day Test, Kumar Sangakkara became the second Sri Lankan batsman, and the 11th overall, to reach the 10,000-run mark. Sangakkara, who got to the milestone in his 195th innings, is level on top with Brian Lara and Sachin Tendulkar on the list of batsmen to reach the mark in the fewest innings. The first man to achieve the landmark at the MCG, Sangakkara crossed 10,000 runs in 115 matches, four more than Lara, who did so in 111 matches. Among the 11 batsmen with 10,000-plus runs, Sangakkara has the second-best average (55.96) behind Jacques Kallis, who averages 56.92. With eight double-centuries, Sangakkara is third on the list of batsmen (Don Bradman and Lara are ahead) with the most 200-plus scores. Like most Sri Lankan batsmen, Sangakkara has extremely impressive numbers at home but the stand-out aspect of his batting has been his ability to produce quality away performances on a consistent basis.
Sangakkara, who has scored over 5600 runs in home Tests, has the highest average (61.25) among Sri Lankan batsmen with 2000-plus runs in Sri Lanka. His tally of centuries at home (18) is second only to Mahela Jayawardene's 22. In contrast to most Sri Lankan batsmen, however, Sangakkara has been a valuable contributor in away Tests too. He has scored 4321 runs outside home at an average of 49.66 with 12 centuries, the highest by a Sri Lankan player. Within the subcontinent, Sangakkara has scored 24 centuries at an average of 60.94.
Outside Asia, Sangakkara has scored six centuries and averages 43.94. Among Sri Lankan batsmen with 1500-plus runs outside the subcontinent, only Marvan Atapattu has a higher average (46.36) and greater number of centuries (7). Against top teams (excluding Bangladesh and Zimbabwe), Sangakkara and Jayawardene have the highest number of centuries (26) among Sri Lankan batsmen but Sangakkara is the only player to average over 50 (batsmen with 2000-plus runs).
All stats updated till the end of the Sri Lanka's first innings in the second Test at the MCG.
|Against top teams*||99||8606||53.12||26/35|
Between his debut (2000) and 2004, Sangakkara played in 44 Tests and averaged 49.27 with seven centuries. His ratio of centuries to fifties (0.38) in this phase, however, was much lower than his overall career figure (0.73). The next four years (2005-2008) turned out to be extremely productive: in 33 matches, Sangakkara scored over 3000 runs at a superb average of 62.57. Interestingly, he also scored more centuries (10) than half-centuries during this prolific phase. Sangakkara's average of 62.57 is the second-highest behind Shivnarine Chanderpaul among batsmen with 3000-plus runs in the period between 2005 and 2008.
In the third phase of his career (2009-present), Sangakkara has scored 13 centuries at an average of 57.29. His ratio of centuries to fifties in this period (0.92) is also higher than the career mark. While Alastair Cook and Kallis have more centuries in the same period, Kallis and Amla have better averages than Sangakkara (minimum 3000 runs).
Sangakkara, who has scored consecutive half-centuries in this series, has had an excellent run in Tests in Australia. In five Tests, he has scored 516 runs at an average of 57.33 with a highest of 192 in Hobart. However, he has struggled to match up to the same standards in home Tests against Australia. In six Tests, Sangakkara has managed to score just 335 runs at an average of 30.45, with no hundreds. Against England, he has performed better at home (average 39.22) than away (average 30.58), though both those averages are below par. Sangakkara's highest score in Tests was against South Africa (287), and his home stats against them are impressive: nearly 800 runs in seven home Tests at an average of 65.83. Although his average drops considerably in away Tests (35.75), his overall numbers against South Africa are still very good. While he has been a dominant batsman at home against West Indies, he has surprisingly been ordinary in home Tests against New Zealand (average 34.00). He has, however, done much better in New Zealand, scoring 334 runs at 66.80 with two centuries.
Against the two major subcontinent teams, Sangakkara has been extremely consistent. Against India, he has scored 892 runs in just nine home Tests at an excellent average of 74.33. In India, Sangakkara has not been the same force, managing just 365 runs in six Tests at 36.50. Sangakkara's most extraordinary numbers are in Tests against Pakistan: he has scored over 1000 runs both home and away (nine centuries in all) and averages 89.23. Only Bradman, who has an average of 89.78 against England, is marginally ahead of Sangakkara on the list of batsmen with the highest average against a particular opposition (minimum 2000 runs).
|Team||Home (Matches/Runs)||Home (Avg/100s)||Away (Matches/Runs)||Away (Avg/100s)||Overall (Matches/Runs)||Overall (avg/100s)|
In comparison to Jayawardene, the first Sri Lankan batsman to reach the 10,000-run mark, Sangakkara has much better numbers in away Tests. Sangakkara has a much higher percentage of away runs (43.13) and a smaller difference (11.59) between his home and away averages. He also has a higher percentage of runs in Tests outside the subcontinent (24.56%) as compared to Jayawardene (18.91%). The difference between averages in and outside the subcontinent (17.00) is also lower for Sangakkara.
While both Sanath Jayasuriya and Aravinda de Silva have a high percentage of away runs, their averages in home and away Tests are significantly lower than those of Sangakkara. Atapattu, on the other hand, scored more than half his runs away and also maintained a better average outside Sri Lanka. He also scored a high percentage (37.07) of his runs outside the subcontinent and ended with a much better average too. His stats outside the subcontinent, however are boosted by his record in Zimbabwe, where he has scored 684 runs at an average of 114.00. In other countries outside the subcontinent, Atapattu's average falls to 35.68 in 21 matches.
|Batsman||Matches/Runs (overall)||Avg/100s (overall)||% away runs||Home/away (avg)||Avg diff 1*||In Asia-Outside Asia (avg)||% runs outside Asia||Avg diff 2*|
|Aravinda de Silva||93/6361||42.97/20||48.27||52.22/36.12||16.10||45.21/38.60||30.34||6.61|
Sangakkara and Jayawardene have formed one of the most successful batting combinations in Tests. They are one among only five pairs to aggregate over 5000 partnership runs. The pair also holds the record for the highest Test partnership (624) in the SSC Test against South Africa in 2006. Their average against South Africa (113.58) is the third-highest among all batting pairs with 1000-plus runs against a particular opposition team. Among the five pairs with 5000-plus partnership runs, Sangakkara and Jayawardene have the highest average (55.99). Their stats, however, are skewed in favour of home Tests, where they average 66.23 with 11 century stands. Their aggregate in home Tests (3623) is the highest for any batting pair.
|Kumar Sangakkara/Mahela Jayawardene||106||5711||55.99||15/24|
|Matthew Hayden/Justin Langer||122||6081||51.53||14/28|
|Sachin Tendulkar/Rahul Dravid||143||6920||50.51||20/29|
|Gordon Greenidge/Desmond Haynes||148||6482||47.31||16/26|
|Alastair Cook/Andrew Strauss||132||5253||40.40||14/21|
Sangakkara captained Sri Lanka in just 15 Tests scoring seven centuries at an average of 69.60. He also kept wickets in 48 Tests but his batting form clearly suffered in matches where had to take up the wicket-keeping duties. In 67 matches where he did not keep, Sangakkara scored 23 centuries and averaged 67. However, in matches where he played as the wicketkeeper, Sangakkara managed just seven centuries at an average just above 40. He also remained prolific across all four innings with his average ranging from 63.28 in the second innings to 43.71 in the fourth innings. Sangakkara's average of 74.33 in wins is the third-highest after Bradman and Steve Waugh among batsmen with 4000-plus runs in victories.
Since 2002, Sangakkara has been dismissed 97 times by fast bowlers (average 55.94) and 53 times by spinners (66.45). He has fallen most often to Zaheer Khan and James Anderson (six dismissals) followed by Nicky Boje (five times).
Madhusudhan Ramakrishnan is a sub-editor (stats) at ESPNcricinfo