Bangladesh v Sri Lanka, 2nd Test, Chittagong, 4th day February 7, 2014

'Tried to keep my mind fresh to score runs' - Sangakkara


A long-time purveyor of Test cricket's grind, Kumar Sangakkara says it was a refreshed focus on positivity that helped him score the third-highest match tally of all time, against Bangladesh. His 424 runs - 319 in the first innings and 105 in the second - were struck at a collective rate of 67.7 and 55% of his runs had come in boundaries.

Sangakkara's 319 also featured eight sixes - the most by a Sri Lankan batsman in a Test innings. One of those, a pull over midwicket, had brought up his triple century, and that stroke was also a hallmark against the spinners. The same shot carried him into triple figures on the fourth day. In between, Sangakkara had made calculated advances down the pitch, and mined outfield gaps efficiently in both innings.

"I think I managed to keep my intent pretty positive right through both my innings and that's what probably worked very well for me," he told ESPNcricinfo. "Rather than just staying out there, it was important to get into a rhythm and look to rotate the strike and score boundaries. As a team, as well as personally, it was about scoring runs, making sure that, without getting negative, we go out there and look for singles and twos and run really well between the wickets."

This deluge had come after a somewhat frustrating series in the UAE, when he had made numerous promising starts but did not progress to a substantial score. For the first time in seven series against Pakistan, Sangakkara failed to hit a Test ton, after he had also had a mediocre ODI series.

"I was batting well, it's just that I wasn't going on with it," he said. "Maybe I have been taking the wrong option at times and just losing concentration at an important time. It was just a case of getting that in mind, leaving really well, knowing where my off stump is, and then pacing my innings really well. Rather than being too tense and trying to concentrate all the time, I tried to switch on and off at the right time, and keep my mind fresh to score runs. That was really the difference for me."

Bangladesh's efforts to dismiss Sangakkara took various forms on the fourth day, including one field that had six men on the leg side and three on the off. The major challenge for Sangakkara, however, was a deteriorating Chittagong surface that had produced shin-high grubbers and moderate turn since the first morning.

"There was a bit more turn in the wicket and it was keeping even a bit lower than on the first two days," he said. "That was about it. Otherwise it was a case of just getting in and then taking the initiative to get a lead of 400, which is what we needed to declare."

Sangakkara struck up a 145-run stand with Dinesh Chandimal, stretching Sri Lanka's lead beyond 300 after they had come together when three wickets had fallen relatively cheaply. Having had a lean eight months, Chandimal reached a resurgent half-century while Sangakkara was at the crease, before going on to get a ton himself in the third session.

"I think Chandi batted beautifully. He's batting with a lot of control, great intent, great rotation of strike," Sangakkara said. "He's been batting very well but unfortunately he's been getting out after taking a few poor options and maybe putting himself under a bit too much pressure to get big runs. It was just a case today of concentrating on the basics and running well between the wickets."

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets here

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  • shyam on February 8, 2014, 8:06 GMT

    funnly.. he is a true legendary flat track bully ...and I cant remember this super hero scoring runs out side sub continent..srilankan still not won single test in india or in Australia..that itself proves how over rated are these srilankans :)

  • Monif on February 8, 2014, 7:45 GMT

    All those who thinks Sanga is flat Track Bully, I am presenting a Stat. Just take Result Oriented Games i.e. Win/Loss/Tied and remove Bangla/Zim and See who is best, As its a result Match it can't be that flat. Player Match Inn Runs Avg 100 50 1. Ponting : 131 229 10543 50.93 32 50 2. Sachin : 115 206 8629 45.17 25 39 16. Sanga: 69 127 5737 48.21 17 21

    In terms of Avg, Steve Waugh is best After Bradman, then Ponting, Inzi and then Sanga. Who have scored more than 5000 Runs. In terms of century, Ponting top the lis, Sachin is 3rd with Brdman after S. Waugh. Sanga is not that far, as he has less game, even his per inng Century is better than Sachin.

  • Dummy4 on February 8, 2014, 6:02 GMT

    well done sanga. you are a true legend. keep it up until surpassing all records.don't hesitate the bad comments.

  • emba on February 8, 2014, 3:41 GMT

    @TestOfTime u including pujara and kohli in ur best test batsmen proves u r an indian just like me waiting for 12 matches to see our team win outside the subcontinent(how pathetic is that?). Are u calling those two "greats" pujara and kohli best batsmen cas they got out for 1 & 4 runs respectively in the 1st test against the world no8 ranked NZ?!!. ROFL man i think we should be congratulating Sanga on this achievement as NONE of our present so called legends can play like him. Our legends like Rohit and Dhoni are pure flat track legends and sitting ducks in fast+bouncy pitches. We should go play against Nigeria in their backyard and we might still lose. LOL!

  • Dummy4 on February 8, 2014, 2:13 GMT

    sangakara will surpass ponting as the 2nd highest scorer of all time and will finish his career with 14000+ runs, he will score at least 10 more centuries in next 3 years, may be two more double centuries, great player, great short maker

  • Dummy4 on February 7, 2014, 17:49 GMT

    Fastest to 1000 run milestones: First 1000 Don missed by just 1 inning. Then it is Bradman all the way until he bowed out 4 short of 7000. Sanga is not known for belligerent batting. In the 8000 club one would think of names like Sobers, Ponting, Javed, KP, Viru, etc who are well known destroyers. But, guess who, it is the stylish Sanga all the way from 8000 till 11000. Go on.

  • Dummy4 on February 7, 2014, 17:29 GMT

    Well played Sanga. 400+ runs in 1 test is an achievement even if its against Bangladesh.when ur avg is above 58 u r not an ordinary player. Sanga, MJ & Chanderpaul are top 3 run scores in test matches now. There will be competition between these 3 in near future. Chandu is already 40 & when it comes to fitness Sanga is better than MJ, so Sanga will overtook both of them in a year or two & who knows he may get closer to dravid,kallis or ponting by retirement

  • Marlon on February 7, 2014, 17:18 GMT

    Sangakkara you are awesome to the maximum! Since you are a wicket keeper batsman, you have no doubt strained yourself to the fullest and your achievements are no doubt the best. Your mega batting average shows you are definitely the best ever batsman in thr history of cricket. If you just focus on test cricket only, I am sure you can play cricket till 2020. You are definitely an all weather shield and a PURE FAST TRACK BULLY.

  • Bosh on February 7, 2014, 17:11 GMT

    There always will be people like TestofTime who will try to degrade performances like this posting nonsensical stuff.. But we ought to ignore those and keep having faith on our players without getting aggravated. Just no point and not at all worth it. Hope Sanga keeps nailing more 100s :)

  • Android on February 7, 2014, 17:10 GMT

    @testoftime clarke has made a triple hundred against india so u consider indian attack a quality attack.for me they are on par with bangladesh

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