England v Sri Lanka, 3rd Test, Rose Bowl, 4th day June 19, 2011

Sangakkara keeps Sri Lanka hoping

36

Kumar Sangakkara entered the Rose Bowl Test as a visibly reluctant captain, but by the close of the fourth day's play, he had tapped back into his leadership qualities to emerge as Sri Lanka's only realistic hope of escaping the match with a draw. By the close he was 44 not out from 111 balls, already his best score of the series, and as coach Stuart Law cast one optimistic eye to the heavens, he admitted that anything less than a century would probably spell curtains for his team.

"There is a forecast that suggests there will be some weather about tomorrow," said Law. "It's a shame, as it's hampered the tour and robbed the viewing public of some quality cricket. But while it's in the air we've still got to bat well and with Sanga at the crease we're a very good chance of saving this Test. We need some runs from the middle and late order, but Sanga really is the one to watch tomorrow."

Sangakkara's record in England - which currently stands at 445 runs in nine Tests at 27.81 - is a curious anomaly, a blot on a career record that is already guaranteed to be recalled among the greats. At the age of 33, there is no guarantee he will be back for a fourth tour of England, but by the close he was doing his best to finish this series on a personal high, as he wore the blows of England's confident attack and responded with some counter-thrusts of his own, not least a whistling cover-drive to draw the sting of Stuart Broad's most probing spell of the series.

His looseness outside off stump had a been a notable frailty in his first five innings of the series, and one stabbed cut in James Anderson's final spell bounced inches short of gully. Nevertheless, from the moment he got off the mark with a classy first-ball whip off the pads, Sangakkara looked primed for the tussle that awaited him, as he swayed out of the way of a vicious lifter from Chris Tremlett, and took another ball from Broad on the body rather than let his gloves get in the way.

"Sanga rarely doesn't have the bit between his teeth to be honest," said Law. "If anything he comes out of his comfort zone here and tries too hard to put it right. He scores runs for fun in places like Australia and he's done well in South Africa too, so it's not that he can't play outside the subcontinent. But it's just taken him a while to realise his game and what he needs to do. I think tonight he batted with extreme purpose and looked every bit the world-class player he is."

Unfortunately for Sri Lanka, they still shipped three prime wickets, including Mahela Jayawardene for another single-figure score. The debutant Larihu Thirimanne knuckled down with great resolve to grind out a doughty 38, while Tharanga Paranavitana once again showcased his durability, even if he was unable to turn his crease occupation into runs in an hour-long stay for 10. When asked if he was happy with the application shown by his team, Law was disarmingly honest. "Not really," he said. "You'd always like more.

"But I'm really impressed with Lahiru," he added. "He's gutsed it out, and he played well. As a young kid making his debut in circumstances he's very foreign to, I'm very proud of the way he played today. It's just unfortunate he got out at the wrong time. Obviously you always want your batsmen to score hundreds every time they go out. That's never going to happen, but we do need a bit more."

Prior to the game, Sangakkara's captaincy concerns had hinted at a degree of unrest within the team. The impending return of the player-turned-politician, Sanath Jayasuriya, at the age of 41 is the issue that will confront them as soon as this match is over and attention switches to the one-day leg of the tour. But as Law was at pains to point out, whatever external pressures may currently exist, the players themselves are just pressing on as best they can.

"The dressing room is very happy," he said. "The boys always walk in with a smile on their face. Whatever else happens in the next few weeks, we have no control over it. We have to go out there and play some cricket.

"They deal with these kind of issues day in, day out," he added. "It's never nice but the boys are happy, they get on with their cricket. They know they've got a job, they love playing for their country. They do it for a lot of people back home, they are very proud of that and they want to keep that intact.

"It hasn't gone well for us [so far], but that's not to do with anything in the dressing-room. It's because England have been very, very good. We probably haven't stepped up to the mark a few times, but we have at certain times."

As for Law himself, his own future as coach is still up in the air, with a full-time successor to Trevor Bayliss still to be appointed. "I have spoken to the right people so hopefully it will be resolved very soon," he said. In the immediate future, Sri Lanka will hope the same can be said of Sangakkara's record in England.

Andrew Miller is UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • first_slip on June 20, 2011, 16:28 GMT

    @Harmony111, Gayle ~ Cook > better than Sangakkara...ou make me laough mate, cook is just a blocker, is having few good innings, chris gale is hit miss type who score 1 out o ten hits in test, Yes Ghambier may challenge sangakkara..but not yet...

  • HAKF5 on June 20, 2011, 16:28 GMT

    I am really proud of young Lahiru Thirimanne. He battered bravely with difficult condition. He showed his capabilities in handling pace , bounce & swing. I wonder why he is not in ODIs. He is a technically correct player with a good cricketing brain . It is time to for our selectors to make use this young talent in both test & ODIs. Thirimanne & Chandimal will be our future cricket. Hope our selectors will make them play as much as possible in future.

  • yorkslanka on June 20, 2011, 16:23 GMT

    Great batting effort to save this test and lose this series by only 1-0.that was also due to us playing badly for just one session and losing the first test.great to see sanga coming back into form ,as we knew he would. What a shame we failed to concentrate for that one session otherwise we would have drawn this series which would have been a good result for our test team in this rebuilding phase. I didn't see the 3-0 result which was so easily predicted by some prior to the series, and surprise surprise, they are suddenly very quiet??

    Before people start bleating about us being saved bt the rain,its worth renembering England had the best of the bowling conditions(with a superior bowling attack) and we still avoided a whitewash.

    Onwards and hopefully upwards to the odi series.

  • danuk87 on June 20, 2011, 16:13 GMT

    @cricsavvy u says sanga only play 3 test and average 65 in aus??and he score on dead wickets?,aus never produce dead wickets for tests or odi's. then 2006 vb series all 11 matches sl played must be on dead wickets all over australia where sanga become the highest run getter of all aus, sa, sl players on that series when he got over 450 runs.y u compare zim average?? according to u, told he only play only 3 in aus?how many he played in zim? only 2, so then y u highlight it as, he score 90% of his runs there, just get a true point for argument, sanga won matches in pak, with double hundred where waqar wasim in there side, and got back to back 100's including 150+ and won the match to sl, so u talking about dead wickets, how sl manage to won those matches

  • sanath007 on June 20, 2011, 15:13 GMT

    Now what the people who said Sanga was not a great say??? now he has scored in England. he's a Legend, a truly great batsman. Looking at the arguments then Bradman is not a great batsman at all, because he didn't score a single run in India,Pak,Sri Lanka,West Indies, New Zealand. Only against England.

  • danuk87 on June 20, 2011, 14:50 GMT

    @yokshire Sanga score 59% of his runs in home because ICC don't give srilanka enough overseas test matches compared to other test nations, that's not his fault and , the only inning he played in aus in 2007 he got 54 & 192 could make more if Rudie kirsten didn't gave the bad decision, and sl never given a match in sa since 2002 where sanga made 98 in last test he played there, so its realy unfair to compare his record with tendulkar, ponting, or lara who given lot of matches to play out side there country, given opportunity sanga score 100's in every test playing nation with reasonable average, and he deserve to be world class player!

  • area1985 on June 20, 2011, 14:41 GMT

    @cricsavvy sanga score 190+ & couple of 90's in SA and just finish a 100 in eng, u deliberately missed his averages in nz & pak which is also above 60 apart from aus, just stop jealous on success,he score runs in dead wickets?huh, who was ur dream hero score runs on difficult wickets??, sanga score runs against every great bowler in difficult wickets, he is truly word class player!

  • Harmony111 on June 20, 2011, 14:35 GMT

    @first_slip:

    You got the right to have your opinion bro but I do think that most teams feel very happy to see KP back as quickly as possible. KP is highly talented, can be unorthodox, scores quickly (unlike Cook and Trott), scores big and can take on and demoralize the best opposition bowler. He is a Border Collie in that sense. His double in the Ashes was one such knock. KP's problems are of his own making and if he can get over them then he might even have a crest just like Ponting had (after Ponting was able to get over his alcohol problem). Also please note that Gayle ~ Cook > Gambhir have some claim to be called the best leftie. These 3 have some arguable salient attributes that Sanga does not have. Sanga is not without competition there and is by no means the undisputed best leftie.

  • Finn92 on June 20, 2011, 13:31 GMT

    He's a very good player but I won't go as far as saying he's a great. He might be remembered as a great by his countrymen but as he plays most of his innings on dead pitches you have to say that it's a very bloated average. It's not his fault really, he doesn't work on the wickets he just bats on what is offered but in reality on sporting pitches you could probably take his average to closer to 50 but that is just speculating really.

  • KingOwl on June 20, 2011, 12:29 GMT

    Great to see Sanga scoring. It was clear that his mind was not in the right place. Now, things seem to be falling into place. The man is world class and making runs in England, even in early season, should not be a challenge to him. I think pure talent wise, he is better than Tendulkar. He just hasn't had the same chances to showcase his talents, unfortunately. Unlike Indians for instance who always get flat wickets by playing in the later season, Sri Lankans always get the tough conditions, whether in England or SA, or Australia, purely due to commercial reasons. It would be nice to see a change, at least once in a while. It would only be fair.

  • first_slip on June 20, 2011, 16:28 GMT

    @Harmony111, Gayle ~ Cook > better than Sangakkara...ou make me laough mate, cook is just a blocker, is having few good innings, chris gale is hit miss type who score 1 out o ten hits in test, Yes Ghambier may challenge sangakkara..but not yet...

  • HAKF5 on June 20, 2011, 16:28 GMT

    I am really proud of young Lahiru Thirimanne. He battered bravely with difficult condition. He showed his capabilities in handling pace , bounce & swing. I wonder why he is not in ODIs. He is a technically correct player with a good cricketing brain . It is time to for our selectors to make use this young talent in both test & ODIs. Thirimanne & Chandimal will be our future cricket. Hope our selectors will make them play as much as possible in future.

  • yorkslanka on June 20, 2011, 16:23 GMT

    Great batting effort to save this test and lose this series by only 1-0.that was also due to us playing badly for just one session and losing the first test.great to see sanga coming back into form ,as we knew he would. What a shame we failed to concentrate for that one session otherwise we would have drawn this series which would have been a good result for our test team in this rebuilding phase. I didn't see the 3-0 result which was so easily predicted by some prior to the series, and surprise surprise, they are suddenly very quiet??

    Before people start bleating about us being saved bt the rain,its worth renembering England had the best of the bowling conditions(with a superior bowling attack) and we still avoided a whitewash.

    Onwards and hopefully upwards to the odi series.

  • danuk87 on June 20, 2011, 16:13 GMT

    @cricsavvy u says sanga only play 3 test and average 65 in aus??and he score on dead wickets?,aus never produce dead wickets for tests or odi's. then 2006 vb series all 11 matches sl played must be on dead wickets all over australia where sanga become the highest run getter of all aus, sa, sl players on that series when he got over 450 runs.y u compare zim average?? according to u, told he only play only 3 in aus?how many he played in zim? only 2, so then y u highlight it as, he score 90% of his runs there, just get a true point for argument, sanga won matches in pak, with double hundred where waqar wasim in there side, and got back to back 100's including 150+ and won the match to sl, so u talking about dead wickets, how sl manage to won those matches

  • sanath007 on June 20, 2011, 15:13 GMT

    Now what the people who said Sanga was not a great say??? now he has scored in England. he's a Legend, a truly great batsman. Looking at the arguments then Bradman is not a great batsman at all, because he didn't score a single run in India,Pak,Sri Lanka,West Indies, New Zealand. Only against England.

  • danuk87 on June 20, 2011, 14:50 GMT

    @yokshire Sanga score 59% of his runs in home because ICC don't give srilanka enough overseas test matches compared to other test nations, that's not his fault and , the only inning he played in aus in 2007 he got 54 & 192 could make more if Rudie kirsten didn't gave the bad decision, and sl never given a match in sa since 2002 where sanga made 98 in last test he played there, so its realy unfair to compare his record with tendulkar, ponting, or lara who given lot of matches to play out side there country, given opportunity sanga score 100's in every test playing nation with reasonable average, and he deserve to be world class player!

  • area1985 on June 20, 2011, 14:41 GMT

    @cricsavvy sanga score 190+ & couple of 90's in SA and just finish a 100 in eng, u deliberately missed his averages in nz & pak which is also above 60 apart from aus, just stop jealous on success,he score runs in dead wickets?huh, who was ur dream hero score runs on difficult wickets??, sanga score runs against every great bowler in difficult wickets, he is truly word class player!

  • Harmony111 on June 20, 2011, 14:35 GMT

    @first_slip:

    You got the right to have your opinion bro but I do think that most teams feel very happy to see KP back as quickly as possible. KP is highly talented, can be unorthodox, scores quickly (unlike Cook and Trott), scores big and can take on and demoralize the best opposition bowler. He is a Border Collie in that sense. His double in the Ashes was one such knock. KP's problems are of his own making and if he can get over them then he might even have a crest just like Ponting had (after Ponting was able to get over his alcohol problem). Also please note that Gayle ~ Cook > Gambhir have some claim to be called the best leftie. These 3 have some arguable salient attributes that Sanga does not have. Sanga is not without competition there and is by no means the undisputed best leftie.

  • Finn92 on June 20, 2011, 13:31 GMT

    He's a very good player but I won't go as far as saying he's a great. He might be remembered as a great by his countrymen but as he plays most of his innings on dead pitches you have to say that it's a very bloated average. It's not his fault really, he doesn't work on the wickets he just bats on what is offered but in reality on sporting pitches you could probably take his average to closer to 50 but that is just speculating really.

  • KingOwl on June 20, 2011, 12:29 GMT

    Great to see Sanga scoring. It was clear that his mind was not in the right place. Now, things seem to be falling into place. The man is world class and making runs in England, even in early season, should not be a challenge to him. I think pure talent wise, he is better than Tendulkar. He just hasn't had the same chances to showcase his talents, unfortunately. Unlike Indians for instance who always get flat wickets by playing in the later season, Sri Lankans always get the tough conditions, whether in England or SA, or Australia, purely due to commercial reasons. It would be nice to see a change, at least once in a while. It would only be fair.

  • cricsavvy on June 20, 2011, 11:48 GMT

    For SL fans Sanga is great. But if you look into his averages: In Aus: 65 but only in 3 tests and that too with only one century in a dead Hobart track. Eng: 30 after 9 tests - no century. Ind: 36.5 after 6 tests SA: 39.20 after 5 tests WI:34 SL: 63 (Wow great !!!!) Zim: 140 (The greatest of them all!!!!) SL fans please refer dictionalry for the term "Great"

  • on June 20, 2011, 9:55 GMT

    @landl47 hey mate you won't be saying your story of the day if England played in Sri Lanka.???? if you talk about the facts about England performing in Sri Lanka they are very poor in deed soo you want to be number 1 ..well u still have to play and win in subcontinent my friend..which Englsn will never will .....

  • piyush999 on June 20, 2011, 9:39 GMT

    sangakara scores his runs against weak oppositions in flat batting tracks and he is a great...woooaahh...cheers to that...infact sl is such a poor test team that they should be stripped of their test status this tour is just the beginning just wait for them being walloped by aussies at home and sa away...oooo i am so waiting for sl to be ranked below bangladesh at 9....

  • on June 20, 2011, 9:02 GMT

    Yes, Sanga needs to bat a long innings to save the Test. But, need to say about the batsmen in general. What I saw in SL batting is that they were on defencive mode and not attacking the bowlers. I did not see any confidence in their batting. The batsmen should have attacked the bowlers and not allowed to dictate terms. Ofcourse the ball was seaming and bouncing but they are professional batsmens. The coach and the experienced palyers could have put the thinking caps and found solutions to counter Eng bowlers. Also, the bowlers no venom just a little bounce and swing compared to Eng bowlers. Play hard SL its a good experience.

  • nimal183 on June 20, 2011, 8:57 GMT

    Compare to all the england batsmen including KP... Sanga is far better than all of them . Most of the time when SL comes to ENG its cold and damp weather and they never play for 5 days.

  • first_slip on June 20, 2011, 8:52 GMT

    @Harmony111,opposition fear KP, joke off the century, @SachIsLife100, give the credit when it's due mate...Name 1 better left handed batsmen better than Sangakkara currently in world cricket? imagine if he was Indian or Englishmen...my god i can imagine..@ Rahul Ramachandran, anti srilnken, never say one good word about srilanka and players, you know why...@Vindaliew, agree with u mate, @Theek Pererz, spot on mate, England Australia & SA always invite srilanka for early summer for series..which is not the easiest thing, if India play early summer on those countries they will struggle more than srilanka,

  • on June 20, 2011, 7:54 GMT

    India is world number 1 team, england when u actually look up ur ranking and it says 1. England, Then u can say ur number 1. A full strength indian line up will not be easy to beat, their only weakness is there quick bowlers, aside from zaheer khan they have no fire power, ishant sharma is decent but is really inconsistent.

  • YorkshirePudding on June 20, 2011, 7:53 GMT

    Sangakarra is a very good batsman, but a sub 40 average in 4 countries hardly puts him in the realms of the great batsmen. I also look at the % splits for home and away runs, Sanga has scored 59% of his runs in SL, most other batsmen have more even splits, SRT has only scored 44% of his runs at home, Ponting 55%, Lara 52%. Though I do recognise his stats are slightly skewed by the fact that he played as the designated keeper for many games and his averages are a lot healthier since he became a speciallist batsman, that said the match sample is still a too small in terms of a specialist batsman to make a judgement outside of SL needed to call him a Great Batsman.

  • tjsimonsen on June 20, 2011, 7:22 GMT

    @mak102480. First of all: who is claiming that England is the bet team in the world right now? What the England team and management have said is that they want to BECOME the best team in the worl in the forseeable future. For some reason a lot of people see this as an insult rather than a challenge. Second: by your own logic, how can India be the best team in the world since they have never won a series in either Australia and South Africa? Before they set both those records straight, their (and their fans') claim could be seen as equally flawed. I think that India is probably the best team at the moment, but it is an ageging team, and they may not stay at the very top for all that long.

  • RecordHunter on June 20, 2011, 6:27 GMT

    This would be a tough ask from Sanga and the Rest of the players against quality England attack on the final day.It will be greater acheivement if SL could draw this match..Overall there are some positives are found from SL team in this series.SL openers managed to build a better partnerships in all 3 first innigs than that of England. Welagedara & lakmal should be given the exposure and confidence by guaranteeing their places in the forthcoming series against Austrailia.I think Dilhara has thrown away all his vital opportunities to be the main attackin bowler. He could not improve from where he has started 11 yrs ago..Same destiny to Ajantha Mendis..I prefer Thirimanne in the Final 11 instead of Samaraweera.

  • anver777 on June 20, 2011, 6:24 GMT

    Sanga has to get a century in this innings & show the cricket world that he can score runs in Eng as well .......... if he does that then can settle for a draw.....we Lankans r always with the team !!!!!!!!!

  • Harmony111 on June 20, 2011, 6:10 GMT

    Sanga is a good batsman, some would say he is a bloody good batsman but I think we stretch it a bit too much if we use the word great for Sanga. D'silva was a real great. Jayasuriya was (and is) a great batsman. Both Sanga and Mahela are at most very good batsmen. There is some invisible line that separates a great batsman from a mere good batsman. Dravid is a great batsman while Sachin is a great. I think it is the same thing as the diff between a talented man and a genius man. All about CAN vs MUST. Also, I think a great batsman is labeled as great from his initial years itself while an ordinary batsman becomes good batsman over the years. Sachin, Lara, Ponting, KP all these have a presence when they bat and the opposition fears them. This is why I feel Cook will remain a very good batsman but not really a great batsman. A great one has a je ne sais quoi which a good one lacks. At the same time, this all is a bit subjective and I invite no trolls to swoop on me for this comment.

  • on June 20, 2011, 5:34 GMT

    Sanga is a truly great batsmen.He scored well in most of the countries except so call england , but the thing is in this rainy windy conditions any great would fail.. even sachin. Why don't they give SL the perfect conditions to play and then test their capabilities.. ? How come england batsmen n bowlers aint perform in Sl and the subcontinent conditions.. ? Totally agree with ELLIS about bradman he was a great in his era.. but who can say he is alltime great if he hasn't played in all the conditions..? thats an absolute joke.. to perform in any country their should be a perfect weather conditions.. without providing that no one can talk about others performance.. when england come to sl they hardly perform .. then who's gonna criticize their performance I dont think their can be a so called world no 1 team just because they won in aussy and without performing in subcontinent...

  • Vindaliew on June 20, 2011, 5:25 GMT

    @ Ellis, Bradman's lack of exposure to the subcontinent and Carribean conditions does not demean his ability and greatness in any way, as his contemporaries shared the same comfort, and yet never came close to his statistics. You can only compare like with like, and in Bradman's case he stands so far above everyone else in his time that it's virtually undebatable. Even with the advent of helmets to boost the figures of batsmen there is still nobody who has come close to Bradman. Among contemporary batsmen (with Trott there's the feeling that we need to wait longer before passing judgement) only Sanga comes close to the bridesmaid group of Headley, Pollock etc. That may be enough to make him great, but with Bradman there's really no question.

  • chandau on June 20, 2011, 4:32 GMT

    @RONSARS: Lol so the criterion for greatness is scoring in England like the greatest Don did!! LMAO. How many doubles has the current Eng.top 6 scored home / away? also as Mflame said Sanga was given out wrongly at 192 for which Roodi later apologised. I winder if you have played cricket mate? To understand the value of a double ask batters like Sachin or KP who have time and again fallen at the threshold. The term in stats is convertion ratio and very few batters have a high ratio for doubles (me thinks Marvy is also in the top category with Mahela). There are dozens and dozens of greaat batsmen but not many can boast a half dozen or more doubles (and more). Lara is way up there with his 375 and 400 and the greatest Don and i guess Gooch? have more than one tripple. The powers of concentration to just keep on going for so long makes these batters great. Mate, just try watching a test match every single ball and movement and all for 4 sessions :) U will get a feel of abt 25% !

  • nks1234 on June 20, 2011, 4:23 GMT

    I can never understand why we cant have horses for courses?I mean why a Mahea or a Raina is played outside the subcontinent?look at Mahela..He averages 60 plus in SL, India and yeah Zimbabwe. He averages below 40 in 5 countries and 7 below 45. In that respect Sanga is far better than him but still he needs to improve a LOT in Eng, India,SA ans also WI.I agree, great platers need to perform under all conditions.

  • on June 20, 2011, 4:22 GMT

    @landl47...I like your confidence mate, but Sri Lanka will show some good resolve methinks. The test series vs India hasn't even started, and I wouldn't be so confident. Just focus on your current series, alright.

  • on June 20, 2011, 4:05 GMT

    @jonathonjosephs, he averages more in those conditions because he's played fewer tests in those conditions. For example, after 3 test matches in Australia, he averages 65. After 16 test matches, after a span of 18 years, Sachin averages 58 in Australia from 1991-2008, right through all the years they were a great team. Mate, let's not even put Sanga or anybody in the Sachin category. There is a reason Sachin is in Bradman's XI ahead of Brian Lara.

  • Ronsars on June 20, 2011, 3:18 GMT

    @johnathonjosephs:Sanga is a good player but if double century is the criterion you are looking for then apart from his 200 odd in Pak all his double centuries were scored at home or against a weaker team...He definetly has struggled in Eng & term "great" can be assigned with only those who can score in any condition in any country

  • landl47 on June 20, 2011, 2:59 GMT

    Realistically, there are only two possible results to this game; either England wins or the weather intervenes and it's a draw. SL have 3 batsmen left and the rest are rabbits. They'll do well to get 250 and that would still only leave England 58 to win. This has been a very one-sided series; SL haven't won any part of it. England have had 3 first-innings leads, SL have only got 10 wickets once (and that was for 486); England won the first game by an innings, would have won the second game but for the weather and will win this game unless it rains. @mak102480: I don't know what your post has to do with this article, but after England beats India this summer and then beats them in India on the next tour, England will be #1. What happened in 1996 really isn't relevant.

  • Mfalme on June 20, 2011, 2:32 GMT

    @johnathonjosephs - absolutely true. In fact if not for a glaring error by the umpire he would have added another double century. Remember the Hobart test in 2007 where after a dazzling 192 he was wrongly given out caught behind.

  • sanath007 on June 20, 2011, 1:35 GMT

    Sanga has scored in Australia, South Africa and New zealand...he is truly a great...Only in England he hasn't done as well..if you take any batsman they may have a poor record in one or two countries

  • mak102480 on June 20, 2011, 1:07 GMT

    How can England be the best test team in the world when they haven't beaten India in a Test series since 1996? Yes, Eng haven't beaten India in a series in 15 years. The last 5 series b/w India and Englad: India (in India), Drawn (in England), Drawn (in India), India (in England), and India (in India). So, it's not just a case of India winning at home either: the last two series in Eng was drawn and won by India.

  • johnathonjosephs on June 20, 2011, 0:24 GMT

    @Sachislife100 Sanga has performed more than enough in seaming conditions. In NZ and Aus (seaming conditions and bouncy pitches) he averages above 60. Only places he has struggled is West Indies and England, but everywhere else (including SA where he averages 40) he has done pretty well. Comparing to Tendulkar, Sanga averages similar in SA and more than Sachin in NZ, Aus, Pak. Sanga is a world class cricketer and is definetely a "truly great". I mean the guy has 7 double centuries, a record next to only Lara, Bradman, and Hammond.

  • Ellis on June 20, 2011, 0:06 GMT

    Who defines what makes a " great" batsman? Is it statistics, or style, or performance under pressure, or match winning innings, or the ability to destroy bowling, or the ability to carry a weak team etc., etc. In the end analysis, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so it is with greatness. Sangakkara is a very, very good batsman who to some will remain that way, and by others will be considered " great". Bradman is generally considered the greatest of all batsmen. However, he never played Test cricket in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, West Indies, South Africa and I believe New Zealand. So, does that mean he was not " great" because he was not tested under those varying conditions?

  • SachIsLife100 on June 19, 2011, 19:57 GMT

    Sanga is a very very good player, but it would be disrespectful to the truly greats to call Sanga great. 2000's were a batsmen's delight and Sanga rightfully capitalized on it. But his struggles on seaming conditions is reknown. Nevertheless, a wonderful batsman to watch.

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  • SachIsLife100 on June 19, 2011, 19:57 GMT

    Sanga is a very very good player, but it would be disrespectful to the truly greats to call Sanga great. 2000's were a batsmen's delight and Sanga rightfully capitalized on it. But his struggles on seaming conditions is reknown. Nevertheless, a wonderful batsman to watch.

  • Ellis on June 20, 2011, 0:06 GMT

    Who defines what makes a " great" batsman? Is it statistics, or style, or performance under pressure, or match winning innings, or the ability to destroy bowling, or the ability to carry a weak team etc., etc. In the end analysis, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so it is with greatness. Sangakkara is a very, very good batsman who to some will remain that way, and by others will be considered " great". Bradman is generally considered the greatest of all batsmen. However, he never played Test cricket in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, West Indies, South Africa and I believe New Zealand. So, does that mean he was not " great" because he was not tested under those varying conditions?

  • johnathonjosephs on June 20, 2011, 0:24 GMT

    @Sachislife100 Sanga has performed more than enough in seaming conditions. In NZ and Aus (seaming conditions and bouncy pitches) he averages above 60. Only places he has struggled is West Indies and England, but everywhere else (including SA where he averages 40) he has done pretty well. Comparing to Tendulkar, Sanga averages similar in SA and more than Sachin in NZ, Aus, Pak. Sanga is a world class cricketer and is definetely a "truly great". I mean the guy has 7 double centuries, a record next to only Lara, Bradman, and Hammond.

  • mak102480 on June 20, 2011, 1:07 GMT

    How can England be the best test team in the world when they haven't beaten India in a Test series since 1996? Yes, Eng haven't beaten India in a series in 15 years. The last 5 series b/w India and Englad: India (in India), Drawn (in England), Drawn (in India), India (in England), and India (in India). So, it's not just a case of India winning at home either: the last two series in Eng was drawn and won by India.

  • sanath007 on June 20, 2011, 1:35 GMT

    Sanga has scored in Australia, South Africa and New zealand...he is truly a great...Only in England he hasn't done as well..if you take any batsman they may have a poor record in one or two countries

  • Mfalme on June 20, 2011, 2:32 GMT

    @johnathonjosephs - absolutely true. In fact if not for a glaring error by the umpire he would have added another double century. Remember the Hobart test in 2007 where after a dazzling 192 he was wrongly given out caught behind.

  • landl47 on June 20, 2011, 2:59 GMT

    Realistically, there are only two possible results to this game; either England wins or the weather intervenes and it's a draw. SL have 3 batsmen left and the rest are rabbits. They'll do well to get 250 and that would still only leave England 58 to win. This has been a very one-sided series; SL haven't won any part of it. England have had 3 first-innings leads, SL have only got 10 wickets once (and that was for 486); England won the first game by an innings, would have won the second game but for the weather and will win this game unless it rains. @mak102480: I don't know what your post has to do with this article, but after England beats India this summer and then beats them in India on the next tour, England will be #1. What happened in 1996 really isn't relevant.

  • Ronsars on June 20, 2011, 3:18 GMT

    @johnathonjosephs:Sanga is a good player but if double century is the criterion you are looking for then apart from his 200 odd in Pak all his double centuries were scored at home or against a weaker team...He definetly has struggled in Eng & term "great" can be assigned with only those who can score in any condition in any country

  • on June 20, 2011, 4:05 GMT

    @jonathonjosephs, he averages more in those conditions because he's played fewer tests in those conditions. For example, after 3 test matches in Australia, he averages 65. After 16 test matches, after a span of 18 years, Sachin averages 58 in Australia from 1991-2008, right through all the years they were a great team. Mate, let's not even put Sanga or anybody in the Sachin category. There is a reason Sachin is in Bradman's XI ahead of Brian Lara.

  • on June 20, 2011, 4:22 GMT

    @landl47...I like your confidence mate, but Sri Lanka will show some good resolve methinks. The test series vs India hasn't even started, and I wouldn't be so confident. Just focus on your current series, alright.