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

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

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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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • matchfixerpkn 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.

  • 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.

  • kohli_kuttu 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!

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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

  • vkumar_086. 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.

  • shockValue 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 :)

  • 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

  • matchfixerpkn 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.

  • 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.

  • kohli_kuttu 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!

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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

  • vkumar_086. 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.

  • shockValue 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 :)

  • 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

  • on February 7, 2014, 17:05 GMT

    @testoftime but clarke and cook failed miserably in the past year or so even after playing tests so consistently,whereas sanga gets a test matches after so much gaps in between,also he has performed outstandingly in the odi's and made centures. how many have cook and clarke made .

  • on February 7, 2014, 16:50 GMT

    next time it will be India in the receiving end!

  • LeoE on February 7, 2014, 16:36 GMT

    TestOfTime .... you really are a novice at this game. Have any of the batsmen you mentioned ever scored four hundred runs in a test match against any opposition, anywhere in the world. ? Its a stupendous feat, to bat for so long, building and holding the innings together when wickets are falling all round you. Take his two knocks out and Sri Lanka would have lost this match. Consistency, endurance and physical fitness, and being injury free are Sanga's greatest traits. Only Bradman, Herbert Sutcliff , Sir Everton Weekes, Ken Barrington and Wally Hammond have a better test average, among batsmen who have scored over 4000 test runs. Where are Richards, Lara and Tendulkar ? Where is Sir Garfield Sobers ? What about Sir Jack Hobbs ? Sir Len Hutton ? None of them can boast of an a average of 58. Only Sir Kumar Sangakkara. !! A man who spent half his career behind the stumps. As a non wicket keeper his average of 69 is second only to Bradman's all time high. Never argue with Stats.

  • on February 7, 2014, 16:34 GMT

    Test of Time defenatly u r Indian. Kohli and pujara best batsmen hehehehe very funny. But they can't score out of India. Am I right ???? They can't bat weak team like New Zealand.

  • on February 7, 2014, 16:29 GMT

    Check How many Hundreds Hayden, Lara have scored against zim and bang. sang gave scored 7 agsinst Bang and 2 Gainst ZIM. Sachin also scored 5 against Bang and 2 against ZIM.

  • on February 7, 2014, 16:13 GMT

    @testoftime so what exactly are you suggesting...?are you saying that Sangakkara should not score because it's a weaker team playing in a subcontinent pitch.... ? And if you are calling a batsmen who has scored 11,000 Test runs and 10,000 one day runs over rated what do you call batsmen like Rohit Sharma, M.S Dhoni, Murali Vijay ....

  • TheAnalyzer on February 7, 2014, 16:07 GMT

    People say that triple hundred was not a good one because its against bangladesh.. When hayden broke lara's record what australian's said was,, "runs are runs, no matter who are your opponent as long as it is international".. And when lara broke hayden's record after 6 months,, ponting said,, "lara was selfish".. :v funny..

    sharma, dhawan and kohli scored century after century against australia in indian pitches.. they chased 350, 359 and scored 383.. They hammered johnson and co out of the park.. Same batsmen played against SA in SA and NZ in NZ.. We saw the results.. sharma hit 16 sixes and scored 209.. kohli hit 2 of the fastest centuries of all time.. But they were dead ducks in fast pitches..Sehwag scored 219 against WI.. Weak bowling side.. No one said it was worthless. The bitter truth is,, we south asian teams are dead ducks on fast pitches.. We rarely win.. These useless fighitng comments are pathetic

  • JamesSmithee on February 7, 2014, 15:57 GMT

    @ TestOfTime - I think you are not awared what going around. Sanga has been ICC number 1 test batsmen for several years. Please don't say he scored all the runs against Bangladesh. Aravida is the number one ODI batsman. But Sanga is the number one test batsman for SL. I remember his 196 aginst Australia. He is the best player I saw after Lara.

  • on February 7, 2014, 15:54 GMT

    hey I'm pakistani mind u.

  • TestOfTime on February 7, 2014, 15:53 GMT

    @Rehan Satti, were you sleeping the past 3 years? Oh wait, you are way too young to realize what happened the past 3 years. Clarke has been busy clocking up centuries and match winning knocks against quality opposition. Though I hate to admit, but Cook has been doing exactly that. So stop poking holes at the list I've provided, they are pretty good cricketers better than Sanga for sure

  • on February 7, 2014, 15:48 GMT

    Ha ha ha .... Lankans should not get upset with comments like TestOfTime ... if you can break it against any team take a chance .... MJ scored 374 against South Africa ... Sanga missed the opportunity to get another double against Australia in Australia he got out for 199 (bcoz of a wrong Decision)

    Sanath Jayasuriya scored 340 for India, SL break the world record of 907 getting 952/6 surely they had a chance to get 1000 runs unless both team agreed for a draw

    I am sure if we get another 20 Test Matches before Sanga's retirement he is capable enough to get his 50th Test Century

  • on February 7, 2014, 15:28 GMT

    @testoftime I think cook nd clarke are the most overrated ecpecially clarke, I have never seen him perform consistently over a period of 2to3 years.

  • Ellis on February 7, 2014, 15:09 GMT

    Without question, Sangakkara is the most eloquent and intelligent cricketer playing the game today. His intelligence allows him to plan and bulid an innings against odds. His eloquence gives him the opportunity to explain the game in all it's aspects. Clear-cut and objective. None of the mumbling shambles that issues from the mouths of many others-cricketers and commentators alike. He is destined for great things within and without the world of Cricket. He is a marvellous role model for the young.

  • jerryman on February 7, 2014, 14:59 GMT

    Congrats Sanga on your innings. pity you missed the world record of Gooch . However a great innings and will be greater if SL bowlers can deliver a victory. Nothing will be sweeter than a win- the icing on the cake .. Good luck and hope to see you making runs on the England tour coming shortly .

  • TestOfTime on February 7, 2014, 14:57 GMT

    A triple and a century against Bangladesh? Laughable. He is merely a flat track weak bowling bully. Even Gillespie hit a double against Bangladesh. The good batsmen of today's generation are Amla,AB DeVilliers, Cook, Clarke, Pujara and Kohli. The SL batsmen are over hyped for no reason

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  • TestOfTime on February 7, 2014, 14:57 GMT

    A triple and a century against Bangladesh? Laughable. He is merely a flat track weak bowling bully. Even Gillespie hit a double against Bangladesh. The good batsmen of today's generation are Amla,AB DeVilliers, Cook, Clarke, Pujara and Kohli. The SL batsmen are over hyped for no reason

  • jerryman on February 7, 2014, 14:59 GMT

    Congrats Sanga on your innings. pity you missed the world record of Gooch . However a great innings and will be greater if SL bowlers can deliver a victory. Nothing will be sweeter than a win- the icing on the cake .. Good luck and hope to see you making runs on the England tour coming shortly .

  • Ellis on February 7, 2014, 15:09 GMT

    Without question, Sangakkara is the most eloquent and intelligent cricketer playing the game today. His intelligence allows him to plan and bulid an innings against odds. His eloquence gives him the opportunity to explain the game in all it's aspects. Clear-cut and objective. None of the mumbling shambles that issues from the mouths of many others-cricketers and commentators alike. He is destined for great things within and without the world of Cricket. He is a marvellous role model for the young.

  • on February 7, 2014, 15:28 GMT

    @testoftime I think cook nd clarke are the most overrated ecpecially clarke, I have never seen him perform consistently over a period of 2to3 years.

  • on February 7, 2014, 15:48 GMT

    Ha ha ha .... Lankans should not get upset with comments like TestOfTime ... if you can break it against any team take a chance .... MJ scored 374 against South Africa ... Sanga missed the opportunity to get another double against Australia in Australia he got out for 199 (bcoz of a wrong Decision)

    Sanath Jayasuriya scored 340 for India, SL break the world record of 907 getting 952/6 surely they had a chance to get 1000 runs unless both team agreed for a draw

    I am sure if we get another 20 Test Matches before Sanga's retirement he is capable enough to get his 50th Test Century

  • TestOfTime on February 7, 2014, 15:53 GMT

    @Rehan Satti, were you sleeping the past 3 years? Oh wait, you are way too young to realize what happened the past 3 years. Clarke has been busy clocking up centuries and match winning knocks against quality opposition. Though I hate to admit, but Cook has been doing exactly that. So stop poking holes at the list I've provided, they are pretty good cricketers better than Sanga for sure

  • on February 7, 2014, 15:54 GMT

    hey I'm pakistani mind u.

  • JamesSmithee on February 7, 2014, 15:57 GMT

    @ TestOfTime - I think you are not awared what going around. Sanga has been ICC number 1 test batsmen for several years. Please don't say he scored all the runs against Bangladesh. Aravida is the number one ODI batsman. But Sanga is the number one test batsman for SL. I remember his 196 aginst Australia. He is the best player I saw after Lara.

  • TheAnalyzer on February 7, 2014, 16:07 GMT

    People say that triple hundred was not a good one because its against bangladesh.. When hayden broke lara's record what australian's said was,, "runs are runs, no matter who are your opponent as long as it is international".. And when lara broke hayden's record after 6 months,, ponting said,, "lara was selfish".. :v funny..

    sharma, dhawan and kohli scored century after century against australia in indian pitches.. they chased 350, 359 and scored 383.. They hammered johnson and co out of the park.. Same batsmen played against SA in SA and NZ in NZ.. We saw the results.. sharma hit 16 sixes and scored 209.. kohli hit 2 of the fastest centuries of all time.. But they were dead ducks in fast pitches..Sehwag scored 219 against WI.. Weak bowling side.. No one said it was worthless. The bitter truth is,, we south asian teams are dead ducks on fast pitches.. We rarely win.. These useless fighitng comments are pathetic

  • on February 7, 2014, 16:13 GMT

    @testoftime so what exactly are you suggesting...?are you saying that Sangakkara should not score because it's a weaker team playing in a subcontinent pitch.... ? And if you are calling a batsmen who has scored 11,000 Test runs and 10,000 one day runs over rated what do you call batsmen like Rohit Sharma, M.S Dhoni, Murali Vijay ....