England v Sri Lanka, 3rd Test, Rose Bowl, 5th day June 20, 2011

Sangakkara finally breaks his England hoodoo

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A grand total of 369 overs were lost to the rain in the course of England's three Tests against Sri Lanka - which is roughly 26 and a half hours' worth of play, or nearly four full days out of a possible 15. It was only fitting, therefore, that on the stroke of tea on the final afternoon, yet another dirty great cloud rolled across the Rose Bowl to extinguish the final embers of a contest that, but for a crazy 24 overs in Cardiff last month, would never have come close to igniting.

If the hardy citizens of Hampshire arrived at the ground today hoping for, and maybe expecting, a similar burst of finality from England's bowlers, then at least they left with the consolation of having watched one of the game's modern greats produce an innings that has been long overdue.

Kumar Sangakkara's six-and-a-half hour 119 was the 25th century of his 97-Test career, but his first in nine attempts in England. In partnership first with the nightwatchman Rangana Herath, and then with his fellow stalwart Thilan Samaraweera, he repelled England's advances on a pitch that Andrew Strauss ruefully remarked was effectively a day three wicket.

The sting of the first day had certainly disappeared, but the application that Sangakkara showed could not be under-estimated. Had he failed to build on his overnight 44, England would surely have fancied their chances of wrapping up a 2-0 win.

"It's very satisfying," said Sangakkara at the close. "To score a hundred, especially in England, is quite an achievement coming from the subcontinent. It would have been nice to have done it at Lord's, but that's something you have to get over. It's nice to finally get there."

In the final reckoning, the innings does little to redress the imbalance of Sangakkara's Test average in England. His mark now stands at 30.58, which is barely half his overall figure of 56.18, and he admitted that it had taken him longer to adjust to the bounce and movement in this country - a process not helped by his belated arrival from the IPL in India.

"I just kept getting out," he said. "When I first came to England [in 2002] I was a bit at sea and tried to make some adjustments, but was not getting anywhere. Second time around I had two opportunities [66 and 65], one at Lord's when I got out to Monty Panesar. So coming here from the IPL it was a case of adjusting again. Not just technically but also mentally. It took me a bit too long to do that."

Nevertheless, there was some satisfaction to be gleaned from Sri Lanka's final-day performance. At times on this tour, with the bat in Cardiff and with the old ball in most of England's innings, they have performed with the fragility of a side ranked far lower than their No. 4 billing. It was important, therefore, to make a statement of the class that still exists in their cricket since the retirement of Muttiah Muralitharan.

"Cricket is all about continuously improving what you can do and what you can do as a team," he said. "And what you can achieve if you perform as a team collectively. Our ambition now has to be to consolidate with the players we have, the ability we have and find new ways of winning Test matches. We don't have Muralitharan any more, we don't have [Chaminda] Vaas. For us to win, we have to find different avenues. That's the thing for us. Those are the questions we need to answer in the months ahead."

But for that crazy session in Cardiff, Sri Lanka would have escaped with a drawn series, and Sangakkara was well aware of that fact. "That was probably the biggest regret on this tour," he said. "None of us were switched on to that situation really. We just needed to bat consistently for 25 or 30 overs - just one pair to put on a proper partnership on a wicket that was flatter than this one. It just goes to show that one mistake, two mistakes, can magnify a situation that we should have been capable of handling nine times out of ten."

With the debutant Lahiru Thiramanne demonstrating a technique and temperament that enabled him to survive on a tricky surface and, in all likelihood, to thrive on more benign ones, Sri Lanka's batting still looks capable of sustaining their status in the world game. England's more powerful bowlers made the difference in this rubber, as they continue to push towards the No. 1 spot, but Sangakkara refused to believe that his team's days as a top-ranked side are numbered.

"I think all the sides in the top six have their eye on that prize," he said. "We do too. But for us to do that, we need to improve our record away from home. England has a great all-round side and I think they can realistically achieve that ambition. But there are sides to beat, milestones to achieve along the way. We just have to wait and see if the teams battling for that position can deliver."

Andrew Miller is UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY cyniket on | June 23, 2011, 17:52 GMT

    @rade2rising having a technical flaw doesn't mean you'll never get any runs. most batsmen have flaws, cook has several for example. the point is sangakkara's record in england is not an anomaly in light of that flaw. kallis has no such flaw, so his average in england can be seen in the light of one particularly bad tour. i looked up this record of his in australia, which you keep trumpeting. he's toured twice, once in 2004, with australia at their peak, played 2 games and averaged 35. once in 2008, he played one match and averaged 124, pretty slim evidence of a fantastic record in australia. do you actually believe sanga is as good as kallis? i actually think jayawardene is better than sanga, not popular at the moment, cos he's had a bad tour, but a class player nonetheless.

  • POSTED BY rade2rising on | June 23, 2011, 5:22 GMT

    @cyniket - tell me have u ever seen sanga batting before against Aus, Nz bowlers in their home conditions ? i dont think u have, coz if u have seen then u wont say that's a technical flaw. sanga is probably Sl's best test batsman who can play well against swing, bounce. and yea he did tour england 2 times before, but before he played as WK+batsman not as a pure batsman. u see there's a big difference. again morgan played against SL's inexperience ordinary bowling attack while sanga had to play against world's current-best test bowlers ( anderson, swan, broady, tremlet). did u know that kalls also dont have a good record in england ? his Average is just under 30. so there u go mate :) there's no excuse, all i'm saying it's just another record just like Kalli's record in england, sehwag's record in SAF, NZ.

  • POSTED BY faizalsehwag on | June 22, 2011, 14:40 GMT

    srilankan cricket board,peoples,players everybody is jealous with INDIAN CRICKET..... thats why they are screaming like mad..... last times sanga was quarelling (crying) on medias that "we want no1 and please ....do not give to india:" TO ALL LANKAN FANS... ranking systems based on performance of the team against all test playing nations..u cannot purchase it from supermarket with bargaining ..mind it... we indians are currently no1 and will try to retain in performance..

  • POSTED BY Balumekka on | June 22, 2011, 12:25 GMT

    @ lijihas: We Sri Lankan fans never get emotional on highest victories or shameful defeats and that has been our mark, so never expect to come to streets anyway. We never throw stones at players's houses when our team loses. But fans in some other country do that so often and they think that fans in their neighboring countries also do so!!!!! Fans in Sri Lanka are educated and they only enjoy cricket. Even in big losses, fans sing and dance with our trademark papare bands. But fans in some other country have been doing so and lot of security is required in such situations.

  • POSTED BY lijihas on | June 22, 2011, 11:16 GMT

    RAIN HELPED LANKA FROM SERIES FROM 3-0 TO 1-0.... LANKANS FANS ARE STARTED CELEBRATIONS IN THE STREETS ..BCZ THEY DESERVES A DRAW WITH TOP RANKED TEAMS.... A WIN AGAINST TOP RANKED TEAMS ARE STILL DREAMS IN AWAY MATCHES....

  • POSTED BY cyniket on | June 22, 2011, 4:33 GMT

    @nesith. it's not confirmation bias, but it's all positive for sri lanka who lost, and it's all negative for england who won, strange. england lack ruthlessness, but they polished sri lanka off in 24 overs at cardiff and managed to win a series in which each test lost an average of a day and a half to rain. "if they didn't lose those ten wickets at cardiff it would have been a drawn series" possibly true and if they had eleven better players they might have won, but they don't and they didn't. I'm really bored with this whole no.1 business. you don't need any special qualities to be no.1, if you beat the other teams then you'll be no.1. the australian team that you mentioned isn't around anymore, so england don't need to be that good to be no.1. finally, i'm sure this bloke pradeep is the new malcolm marshall and he would have made all the difference, like all the other injured players in history who have made all the difference in people's heads. he's never even played a test

  • POSTED BY cyniket on | June 22, 2011, 4:22 GMT

    @meety "how silly of me" indeed! england started to hit out with bell and morgan at the crease, effectively only 4 down. without the time pressure, they would have just carried on.

  • POSTED BY cyniket on | June 22, 2011, 4:19 GMT

    @rade2rising. everyone plays stupid shots from time to time. my point was that when the ball swings away from him he follows it, even if he is playing defensively, which is a technical flaw. he played a season in warwickshire, he's toured england 2 or 3 times, there's no excuse. eoin morgan played in the ipl and he hasn't had any problems. we don't really disagree though, i do think he's a very good player. interesting that you mentioned sehwag, i'd also put him in a similar bracket. one level down from tendulkar and kallis.

  • POSTED BY Meety on | June 22, 2011, 3:18 GMT

    @James Badge Wing, still think it was well set after technically 3 days of play. Questionable how many runs Tremlett & Swan would of got! @ Flat_Track_bullies - England lost to India at home recently? That was a long while ago & is passed history. India need to actually win a series off the sub-continent against a "proper" team before they've fully earned the #1 rank! LOL! @cyniket - oh yeah! Swann & Tremlett could of got centuries & batted SL out of the match. How silly of me! LOL! The reality is that with Cook & Trott in the side there would be every chance if it was a timeless test England could overhaul any target SL set. Historically though - chasing any score over 200 is not easy. Given SL had 5 wickets & a tail that could easily wag (or fold), its not beyond realms of possibility that SL could of got a lead of 300. Whether England declared or not chasing 300 would not of been easy.

  • POSTED BY nesith on | June 22, 2011, 2:29 GMT

    @cyniket Its not confirmation bias, fact of the matter is your so called great bowlers didn't finish off SL, I didnt say that SL was ever going to win the series nor that they deserve a drawn series, all I was pointing out was that if they didn't loose those 10 wickets at cardif it would have been a drawn series, then How can ENG claim greatness ,If it was AUS team of 90s we would have lost 3-0, SL just have a young team and they don't have any bowlers who have experience, hence why ENG scored 450+ after been 32/3(hence why I said would have been interesting to see nuwan pradeep who bowls 90+)Its true that SL never looked likely to take 20 wickets, BUT ENG to be a great Team should've finished off SL with all the opportunities they had so in that view SL did pretty well just to loose 1-0 and its my belief that ENG is far from becoming no 1, They do not posses the ruthlessness that Aussies had, That's what they need to become No-1

  • POSTED BY cyniket on | June 23, 2011, 17:52 GMT

    @rade2rising having a technical flaw doesn't mean you'll never get any runs. most batsmen have flaws, cook has several for example. the point is sangakkara's record in england is not an anomaly in light of that flaw. kallis has no such flaw, so his average in england can be seen in the light of one particularly bad tour. i looked up this record of his in australia, which you keep trumpeting. he's toured twice, once in 2004, with australia at their peak, played 2 games and averaged 35. once in 2008, he played one match and averaged 124, pretty slim evidence of a fantastic record in australia. do you actually believe sanga is as good as kallis? i actually think jayawardene is better than sanga, not popular at the moment, cos he's had a bad tour, but a class player nonetheless.

  • POSTED BY rade2rising on | June 23, 2011, 5:22 GMT

    @cyniket - tell me have u ever seen sanga batting before against Aus, Nz bowlers in their home conditions ? i dont think u have, coz if u have seen then u wont say that's a technical flaw. sanga is probably Sl's best test batsman who can play well against swing, bounce. and yea he did tour england 2 times before, but before he played as WK+batsman not as a pure batsman. u see there's a big difference. again morgan played against SL's inexperience ordinary bowling attack while sanga had to play against world's current-best test bowlers ( anderson, swan, broady, tremlet). did u know that kalls also dont have a good record in england ? his Average is just under 30. so there u go mate :) there's no excuse, all i'm saying it's just another record just like Kalli's record in england, sehwag's record in SAF, NZ.

  • POSTED BY faizalsehwag on | June 22, 2011, 14:40 GMT

    srilankan cricket board,peoples,players everybody is jealous with INDIAN CRICKET..... thats why they are screaming like mad..... last times sanga was quarelling (crying) on medias that "we want no1 and please ....do not give to india:" TO ALL LANKAN FANS... ranking systems based on performance of the team against all test playing nations..u cannot purchase it from supermarket with bargaining ..mind it... we indians are currently no1 and will try to retain in performance..

  • POSTED BY Balumekka on | June 22, 2011, 12:25 GMT

    @ lijihas: We Sri Lankan fans never get emotional on highest victories or shameful defeats and that has been our mark, so never expect to come to streets anyway. We never throw stones at players's houses when our team loses. But fans in some other country do that so often and they think that fans in their neighboring countries also do so!!!!! Fans in Sri Lanka are educated and they only enjoy cricket. Even in big losses, fans sing and dance with our trademark papare bands. But fans in some other country have been doing so and lot of security is required in such situations.

  • POSTED BY lijihas on | June 22, 2011, 11:16 GMT

    RAIN HELPED LANKA FROM SERIES FROM 3-0 TO 1-0.... LANKANS FANS ARE STARTED CELEBRATIONS IN THE STREETS ..BCZ THEY DESERVES A DRAW WITH TOP RANKED TEAMS.... A WIN AGAINST TOP RANKED TEAMS ARE STILL DREAMS IN AWAY MATCHES....

  • POSTED BY cyniket on | June 22, 2011, 4:33 GMT

    @nesith. it's not confirmation bias, but it's all positive for sri lanka who lost, and it's all negative for england who won, strange. england lack ruthlessness, but they polished sri lanka off in 24 overs at cardiff and managed to win a series in which each test lost an average of a day and a half to rain. "if they didn't lose those ten wickets at cardiff it would have been a drawn series" possibly true and if they had eleven better players they might have won, but they don't and they didn't. I'm really bored with this whole no.1 business. you don't need any special qualities to be no.1, if you beat the other teams then you'll be no.1. the australian team that you mentioned isn't around anymore, so england don't need to be that good to be no.1. finally, i'm sure this bloke pradeep is the new malcolm marshall and he would have made all the difference, like all the other injured players in history who have made all the difference in people's heads. he's never even played a test

  • POSTED BY cyniket on | June 22, 2011, 4:22 GMT

    @meety "how silly of me" indeed! england started to hit out with bell and morgan at the crease, effectively only 4 down. without the time pressure, they would have just carried on.

  • POSTED BY cyniket on | June 22, 2011, 4:19 GMT

    @rade2rising. everyone plays stupid shots from time to time. my point was that when the ball swings away from him he follows it, even if he is playing defensively, which is a technical flaw. he played a season in warwickshire, he's toured england 2 or 3 times, there's no excuse. eoin morgan played in the ipl and he hasn't had any problems. we don't really disagree though, i do think he's a very good player. interesting that you mentioned sehwag, i'd also put him in a similar bracket. one level down from tendulkar and kallis.

  • POSTED BY Meety on | June 22, 2011, 3:18 GMT

    @James Badge Wing, still think it was well set after technically 3 days of play. Questionable how many runs Tremlett & Swan would of got! @ Flat_Track_bullies - England lost to India at home recently? That was a long while ago & is passed history. India need to actually win a series off the sub-continent against a "proper" team before they've fully earned the #1 rank! LOL! @cyniket - oh yeah! Swann & Tremlett could of got centuries & batted SL out of the match. How silly of me! LOL! The reality is that with Cook & Trott in the side there would be every chance if it was a timeless test England could overhaul any target SL set. Historically though - chasing any score over 200 is not easy. Given SL had 5 wickets & a tail that could easily wag (or fold), its not beyond realms of possibility that SL could of got a lead of 300. Whether England declared or not chasing 300 would not of been easy.

  • POSTED BY nesith on | June 22, 2011, 2:29 GMT

    @cyniket Its not confirmation bias, fact of the matter is your so called great bowlers didn't finish off SL, I didnt say that SL was ever going to win the series nor that they deserve a drawn series, all I was pointing out was that if they didn't loose those 10 wickets at cardif it would have been a drawn series, then How can ENG claim greatness ,If it was AUS team of 90s we would have lost 3-0, SL just have a young team and they don't have any bowlers who have experience, hence why ENG scored 450+ after been 32/3(hence why I said would have been interesting to see nuwan pradeep who bowls 90+)Its true that SL never looked likely to take 20 wickets, BUT ENG to be a great Team should've finished off SL with all the opportunities they had so in that view SL did pretty well just to loose 1-0 and its my belief that ENG is far from becoming no 1, They do not posses the ruthlessness that Aussies had, That's what they need to become No-1

  • POSTED BY rade2rising on | June 21, 2011, 23:32 GMT

    @maddy20 - if SL had only 4 bowlers then it wouldn't have made that much difference coz both bowling all-rounders thisara, maharoof didn't get more than 3 wickets in the whole series. if SL had 7 batsmans top order batsmans same as england ( including WK ) at least they could have scored more runs.

  • POSTED BY rade2rising on | June 21, 2011, 23:20 GMT

    @cyniket - it's not a technical flaw, it's just that he wasn't in his best form. in his previous innings he didn't leave the ball very well, played few stupid shots and got out. u can clearly see thats what was in his mind. otherwise he dont have any problem against swing & bouncers. his record in Aus, NZ proves that. and england pitches aren't that difficult to bat anymore, LORD pitch was the best example. it's flat as most sub-continent pitches. so according to ur logic then sehwag also not a great player coz his record (average) in SAF ( 25 ), NZ ( 20 ) isn't good. :) Sanga isn't better than Lara, Sachin, kallis or even dravid but defi he is one of the best test batsman for sure. maybe not for u but for many who have seen his great innings like this, he is.

  • POSTED BY mrgupta on | June 21, 2011, 20:32 GMT

    @Robayeth Robs: You don't need to beg, For the instances where batsmen have saved a test scoring a 100 in the last innings of the test, Sachin scored a brilliant 119* when he was all but 17 years old, scored 100* against SL recently to save the test to name a few. You might want to count how many times, well there are atleast 5-6 such occasions(Courtesy Statsguru). And before you jump out Lara managed it 3 times, Ponting managed it only Once. How many times Sanga managed to do the same feat? This is only the second such occasion and he has never scored a century to Win SL a test in the final innings. By the way how many times has Sanga Won tests for SL overseas? Specially in Aus, India and SA?

  • POSTED BY yorkslanka on | June 21, 2011, 19:32 GMT

    even as a sri lankan, i have to say there is no comparison of sanga to tendulkar.the former is a very good player but the latter is something special and is up there with teh greatest batsmen of all time... Sangakkara needs to play some county cricket which he will probably do as he no longer has captaincy commitments to Sri Lanka...To his credit his cover drives are exquisite adn a joy to watch...

  • POSTED BY cheapskate18 on | June 21, 2011, 19:27 GMT

    Reply to Robayeth Robs:.. The answer is 42.

  • POSTED BY on | June 21, 2011, 19:06 GMT

    someone is talking about Tendulker-Sangakkara competition. But i want to Knw Clearly HOW MANY time in life SRT palyed such innings or scored a hundred to save a test match on 5th day of a test match. I beg YOU ALL PLS ANSWER..

  • POSTED BY Finn92 on | June 21, 2011, 17:59 GMT

    Sri Lanka need a decent young crop of bowlers and they'll be ok. It's still going to be a couple more years before Sanga, Mahela and Dilshan go so in that respect they have time to prepare some youngsters, like Chandimal for example. They aren't a bad side but without Murali they are fairly average with their bowling but their batting more than makes up for it, well their top 5 anyway

  • POSTED BY voma on | June 21, 2011, 17:48 GMT

    One man saved Sri Lanka at lords in the 2nd test , T m Dilshan . Without his 194 England would have comftably won that match , especially as he broke his finger in that innings . Would like to say Dilshan was my favourite player of the series . But it has to be said Englands bowler were allways on the hunt for easy wickets .

  • POSTED BY cyniket on | June 21, 2011, 17:39 GMT

    @nesith. at 32/3 england weren't slogging for a declaration- true, that's why they made another 450 runs. there lies the difference between the two teams, england were able to run through the sri lankan order, the reverse never looked likely. sri lanka lost all ten for 82 at cardiff. they lost their last 7 for 90 at lords and they were bowled out for 184 at the rose bowl. perhaps that was 3 "brain fades"! there are some seriously sore losers on this thread. to watch that series and claim that sri lanka deserved a draw is a clear example of confirmation bias. you're ignoring the wealth of evidence that england are much better. bowlers don't want it to rain, they might like it overcast, but as the match wears on, broad, tremlett and swann would all prefer the pitch to dry out and get faster and harder. As for the claim that winning in australia isn't significant, oh dear! sri lanka have never won a test, nor india a series, in australia.

  • POSTED BY mrgupta on | June 21, 2011, 14:37 GMT

    @Wickramasinghe: Don't want to demean Sanga but He has an avg of less than 40 in atleast 4 countries (Eng, Ind, SA and WI) whereas Sachin avg atleast 40 in every country a record not matched by any contemporary of his, neither Lara, Ponting, kallis or even Rahul Dravid. In the top countries Sachin's batting avg has been spectacular (Aus 58, Eng 62 and SA 46). Compare that with what Sanga and Jayawedene have managed. Sachin has batted on the bounciest and fastest pitches (Aus, Eng, NZ, WI and SA) and against the best of the attack and still managed to get an avg of over 40 in each and every test playing country. No other batsmen in Cricket's history who played more than 50 tests and played in more than 3 away countries can match this record of avg atleast 40 in every test playing country, Neither Sir Viv, nor Sir Sobers, nor Sunny nor Miandad or Border.

  • POSTED BY on | June 21, 2011, 14:20 GMT

    England vs. India would be very very interesting. Let's see how India handles Tremlett.

  • POSTED BY yorkslanka on | June 21, 2011, 13:35 GMT

    great innings from Sanga to save this match for Sri Lanka...Its funny that the widely predicted 3-0 whitewash to England failed to materialse and if it wasnt for one bad seesion at cardiff, we would have drawn this series.This would have been a good result for our current team considering they are in a rebuilding phase... It very easy for lots of indians to say they will walk the series with england before they get here but how about we see when you get here eh? I have been impressed by prasanna and am glad that he got the credit he deserves in getting player of the series for SL. Onwards adn upwards to the T20 and ODI series, where i expect we will do a lot better as we have much more experience in these formats, although worth noting we are playing teh T20 world champs, so that wont be easy...Good luck Sri Lanka

  • POSTED BY Technical-1 on | June 21, 2011, 13:06 GMT

    England will Beat INDIA! I just hope the provide to Killing Bouncing Wicket! India being Number was a joke.

    Jamaican.

  • POSTED BY buncers on | June 21, 2011, 12:50 GMT

    Good to see Sanga come to the party at last.

    Can somebody tell me how the SL batsman couldn't swing the ball in the most favourable conditions you will ever get anywhere in the world (overcast heavy atmosphere is ideal).

    Most of us amateurs manage in England - it is just a matter of bowling technique. Sometimes in England the balls swings without even trying if you hold the ball correctly. Apart from that the guys (Wella and Lakmal) bowled with a lot of heart, but they need to learn to use the conditions.

    One final thing - the way to play Tremlet etc is to get out of the way of anythng but good length balls. This can be practiced in the net (Laws note), with a bowling machine - batters need to practice the sway/get out of the way move.

  • POSTED BY on | June 21, 2011, 12:43 GMT

    "Beating a weakened Aussie team isn't that much of an achievement".

    And yet it's better than the Indian team has done recently.

  • POSTED BY on | June 21, 2011, 12:24 GMT

    Credit should go to the SL team for doing well in the series when taking in to consideration of the alien conditions in the early English season and playing on unfamiliar green & lively pitches. Poor planning and selection blunders didn't help their course either. It was unfortunate that the fate of the series was decided on 1 bad session. I think England preferred SL earlier in the season than India due to the fact that the quality of Sri Lanka's spin attack is way ahead of what India can offer. In the latter part of the summer, the wickets will help the slow bowlers and the SL spin attack can really test the English batsmen and demolish them. The series could have been completed as 0 -0 or 2 - 0 in favour of SL. Most outstanding players were Dishan, Paranawithana and Prasanna Jayawardana. Thilan's performances were commendable and had answered his critics. Sanga was disappointing earlier, which made the batting order looked somewhat brittle, but nice to see him show his class at th

  • POSTED BY rappedonthepads on | June 21, 2011, 12:21 GMT

    Yawn!!! Same old IPL-responsible-for-all-that-is-wrong rant. Kids, time to change your nappies.

  • POSTED BY SuperSaiyan4 on | June 21, 2011, 11:30 GMT

    @ Philip_Gnana :"People who think that England is not No 1 material especially from a particular part of South Asia, are kidding themselves. Lets see how India perform"

    LOL really ?

    England would be lucky if they manage to get off with a Drawn series . England are far from being the NO 1 Side. Beating a weakened Aussie team isn't a big achievement and the series victory is seriously over rated .

  • POSTED BY johnathonjosephs on | June 21, 2011, 11:27 GMT

    @flat track bullies you may say that, but India has not won a series away since they became the no 1 side (except for bangladesh). The same can be said. In my humble opinion, I think England edges over India simply because of the form their batsman are in and their very complete bowling attack.

  • POSTED BY johnathonjosephs on | June 21, 2011, 11:24 GMT

    Sangakkara demonstrated his class and his reign among the greats as he finally got a century in England. I find it interesting because he was in good form in the World Cup, but seemed that he couldn't acclimatize to the English settings. It seems that he regained his form in the warm up match before this test and seems to be in good nick for the upcoming Australian Tour. Either way, it seems that the captaincy for the Sri Lankan team seems to make the players bat well (Mahela averaged in high 60s, Sanga averaged almost 100 last year, and Dilshan has been outstanding in this series). Makes me wonder if there ever was a Sri Lankan bowler who captained the team and if there ever was a bowler captain, what would it do to his bowling?

  • POSTED BY on | June 21, 2011, 11:07 GMT

    Unfortunately, IPL was not played under English conditions. Even Sangakkara admitted that he could not get accustomed to English conditions, soon as he got late to come, due to IPL. So the minister is responsible for this debacle by interfering with the decisions of the former cricketers (selectors) as it is not like base ball / elle.

  • POSTED BY Philip_Gnana on | June 21, 2011, 9:11 GMT

    England may be No3 at the moment on paper, but they are really the No1 team at the moment. Beating Australia in their own backyard and in the manner which they did, SAYS IT ALL. People who think that England is not No 1 material especially from a particular part of South Asia, are kidding themselves. Lets see how India perform. They will not have the benefit of the UDR System to help them. In spite of Sanga's hundred, he has to take responsibility along with Mahela for the NO-SHOW. The IPL and in the attitude towards this tour in not being part of the squad that arrived, says a lot about the state of the system in Sri Lanka. Sanath, coming back to say goodbye? What is the matter with SLC. There should not be any sentiments. They are professionals and should behave like one. Thirimanne sure did show his capabilities along with Paranavitharana. I wonder if Nuwan Zoysa would have been a help in English coniditions. I think SL missed a trick. Philip Gnana, Surrey

  • POSTED BY on | June 21, 2011, 9:06 GMT

    In the whole England tour Sri Lanka play badly only on one session .That was after tea at Cardiff. That also not due to greatness of England bowling but to the bad weather. How many time the match was stopped due to rain. If England had to bat in that condition ,with high moisture in the air ,their fate will be not much difference. Apart from that session SL did well in England in their condition. My hats off to young Sl team. But SL cricket board is a rotten stock. Thanks to them Malinga left Test Cricket.

  • POSTED BY nesith on | June 21, 2011, 8:36 GMT

    @cyniket even kallis has almost 20points difference in 'ave' england, Sachin is just brilliant he has much better average in english condition, fact of the matter is almost all players struggle in english conditions, and you seem to forget that country like sl only get to play in england every 4 years, let see what happen when sri lanka get consistent exposure to these conditions, And the fact of the matter is under the most glorious conditions for swing bowling England were not able to finish off SL, regardless of the rain delays if you are trying to be no 1 and been handed the best conditions you wish for still took sl brain fade to have a series win otherwise just a drawn series and if we had nuwan pradeep when eng were 32/3 remember they weren't slogging for declaration then it would have been interesting

  • POSTED BY on | June 21, 2011, 8:35 GMT

    @Wickramasinghe...actually Tendulkar averages 45 in SA. I'm not sure how that is mediocre. I think Sangakkara is quality player btw, in the top 5 or 6 batsmen of the decade for me.

  • POSTED BY mm71 on | June 21, 2011, 8:28 GMT

    So many anti-IPL comments. I can understand it coming from Pakistanis. For the rest, what is your problem? Nobody has forced any player to join IPL. The huge money on offer never hurts, but then this is also one platform where the finest players in the world take part. For players playing with the world's finest does hold a certain charm, so please dont insult them by saying it's only for the money. Also, please dont compare IPL to the domestic tournaments of SA or SL or Pak or Aus or Eng. Everybody is blaming IPL for the poor batting. What do you think the players were doing at IPL? Do you think it was better for Sanga to practice against some club bowlers rather than practice against Dale Steyn & Ishant Sharma as he was doing at IPL? Would Mahela be better playing Sreesanth, RP Singh, Thisara or some county bowlers?

  • POSTED BY indianzen on | June 21, 2011, 7:00 GMT

    First test lost cheaply... second one struggled and managed to draw... and what with the third one ? I certainly expect more from the Lankan players.. particularly the bowlers.. i think Lankans are finding it tough to swing in English conditions... attend a course from Zaheer khan I say...

  • POSTED BY on | June 21, 2011, 6:47 GMT

    Come on ppl. England pushing for number one rank. Its so hilarious. they could not pressurize the depleted Sri Lankan side after what they have gone through, except for one last hour in Cardiff that too in their own soil. I do not think they can win one match against India for sure. English media exaggerates a bit too much I guess. Sri Lankans with out Murali and Vaas will soon come up with improved bowling attack in the months ahead, rather thats what i believe.

  • POSTED BY cyniket on | June 21, 2011, 6:37 GMT

    @chandau. firstly, england scored significantly faster than sri lanka throughout the series. secondly, you rather undermine your own point by highlighting the fact that many of the wickets sri lanka managed to get were england batsman throwing their wickets away in the pursuit of quick runs. england were so dominant that they spent time in all three tests slogging for a declaration. as for your point about england batsmen in the subcontinent, your point might have more force if you could point to the records of these batsmen who are supposedly failing there. as far as i'm aware none of them averages significantly less in the subcontinent. I should also reiterate that i'm not claiming that any of the england batsmen is currently the 'best' in the world. but sangakkara isn't either.

  • POSTED BY nair_ottappalam on | June 21, 2011, 6:25 GMT

    Absolutely no doubt about the class and quality of cricket played by Sanga. He and Mahela still hold the backbone of Sri Lankan batting. The absence of Dilshan made no much difference. One thing which emerged was the sub continent batsmen's vulnerability to bouncy track and genuine pace bowling. Over the years, players from India, Lanka and Pakistan have found themselves in a tricky situation in England. India this time will have the advantage of the late tour. But still I think England should dominate and dictate terms. Indian batsmen crumbled at Jamaica last night. With Sachin and Sehwag back and hoping Laxman and Dravid to hold form, India could give a fight.

  • POSTED BY nimal183 on | June 21, 2011, 6:11 GMT

    There you go England need bad weather to win a test match!!! Even the bad conditions didn't help them lol!!! This England team is going to be No1 in the world!!!!!!!????? Dream on English fans!!! They can't even take 20 wickets in bad weather conditions!!!!! They had no answer to sangas greatness... Compare to all the English batsmen Sangas record stands out!! If he played more tests in england he would have scored many centuries like this one!!!

  • POSTED BY on | June 21, 2011, 6:07 GMT

    @Chandau

    If Sanga is not one of the best coz of his record in england, then it applies to Sachin as well with his mediocre record in South Africa :)

  • POSTED BY on | June 21, 2011, 5:52 GMT

    Very tricky pitch...well.india dont be tensed , you will play on on summer in englad on hot flat pitch...

  • POSTED BY vajira12 on | June 21, 2011, 4:58 GMT

    As good as any century he has played. Well done Sangakkara.

  • POSTED BY on | June 21, 2011, 4:24 GMT

    Malinga must be rested until the next world cup as he is rightly concerned about injuries and pave way for a youngster who can play test cricket as well, so that that youngster will get prepared for test cricket, long before. Malinga must be encouraged to play T20 everywhere, even in Australia, to earn foreign exchange / revenue for the country and himself. Angelo is not a great test player. Statistics of him prove it without any doubt and not scored a test century even. Prasanna is a far better player than him and scored test centuries as well, unlike Angelo. Angelo must prove his worthiness for test cricket by impressing well against Australians in August in their 3 day practice match. It is valid for other players as well who did not perform well in the tests in England. Who want to drop Thilan Samaraweera in Test cricket ? Please speak up. Don't be silent.

  • POSTED BY anver777 on | June 21, 2011, 4:18 GMT

    As i predicted yesterday Sanga scores a century & saves the match....it was really a stubborn one & what a way to silence the critics. Also must not forget the supports given by Samaraweera & the nightwatchman Herath. Well played SL & good luck for T20-ODI series!!!!!!!!!!

  • POSTED BY chandau on | June 21, 2011, 4:14 GMT

    @ cyniket this was an extremely one sided series. sri lanka were totally unable to put pressure on england's batsman. lol what was written in crikinfo about KP 1st and then Strauss mate :) And for all their pressure free batting, everytime they tried to up the rate wickets went down like 10 pins! We admit that the SL bowling lineup was amateur, less than a 50 or 60 tests among 5 bowlers and still England cannot score faster than 3.5!

    firstly, sanga is nowhere near the best batsman in the world. 1 hundred doesn't cover up his general struggles against the swinging ball and his otherwise mediocre record in england. lol since when the definition of a great batsman includes a lot of runs in England. By the same logic, there will be no great batters from England because i cant think of anyone who has scored a lot of runs against India SL and pakistan in the sub continent. Why not let SL play in UK every 2 years instead of 4. Then we can see a difference of averages.

  • POSTED BY maddy20 on | June 21, 2011, 4:10 GMT

    @rade2raising And they lost the series. SO they were not even looking to save the series after losing 8 wickets in 12 overs and the collapse happened again in the first innings of the third match. If they had only 4 bowlers England would have scored 500+ easily

  • POSTED BY cyniket on | June 21, 2011, 4:06 GMT

    @rade2rising. "just coz sanga's record isnt that good in england doesn't mean he is not a great test player". agreed, stats can be misleading. but when a statistic such as that has a glaring reason, you can't ignore it. sanga's decision making outside his off stump is unreliable and when he decides to play he follows the ball if it swings. this is a big technical flaw and it explains his difficulties in england. I didn't say he was a bad player. he's good, just not the 'best in the world' as the earlier comment said. surely you aren't maintaining that he's as good as tendulkar or kallis?

  • POSTED BY on | June 21, 2011, 3:54 GMT

    well done sanga.you proved that you can make it.SAnga should consider on leadimg the team again

  • POSTED BY rade2rising on | June 21, 2011, 3:50 GMT

    If anyone say that SL's aim was to draw the series then they could have just play 7 batsmans - 4 bowlers in all 3 matches but they had guts to go with 6 batsmans ( with keeper ) and 5 bowlers even after horrible collapse in the first match.

  • POSTED BY on | June 21, 2011, 3:28 GMT

    LOl. people saying eng played well. but only the `1 last hour made the difference . if nt it could have been a drawn series. i think indian will beat them like 2-0, thats in england. oh what will happen when eng come to sub continent , oh god i cant even think of a single draw. wake up people. eng far from number 1

  • POSTED BY rade2rising on | June 21, 2011, 3:26 GMT

    @cyniket - i'm a sri lankan but i admit england's bowling attack was much better than sl's. except dilhara rest sl bowlers dont have that much experience. it was a big blow for sl playing test series away without their main striking bowler malinga. plus SL didn't have the geniune all-rounder Angelo mathews. so it was a very unbalanced, inexperience team unlike england. and as for sangakkara, i think u have no idea what u talking about. just coz sanga's record isnt that good in england doesn't mean he is not a great test player. his Average at away almost 49 which is great. he have very good record out side the subcontinent.. AVG in Aus - 65, in NZ 66, in SAF almost 40. only in england 30+ and in WI 34 he dont have that good record. and he got 7 double centuries. plz go watch his 192 V Aus in Aus 2007 if u haven't seen it yet.

  • POSTED BY on | June 21, 2011, 3:16 GMT

    IPL screws up cricket! argh...

  • POSTED BY denwarlo70 on | June 21, 2011, 3:09 GMT

    In a recent response in Mahela J's column, I did mention that I am disappointed in the manner in which the two great senior players of team Sri Lanka were batting and I said there still remains a Chance to prove me wrong in the second innings of the 3rd test and in fact, one of the great did stand up and prove to the world that he is still one of the greats with all due respect to the other (MJ) who still definitely is one. I still remember the former President of Sri Lanka mentioning in a post match speech (After our first ever test win in the 80's) that team Sri Lanka is like a cork in the water. They can never be pushed down to the bottom and yes, us Lankans could never be pushed down. We are born fighters and we will never say die without a fight. Congrats boys and look forward to the ODI's now.

  • POSTED BY on | June 21, 2011, 2:53 GMT

    It doesn't get better than this...A side under pressure...A reluctant captain and a man who is put under lot of pressure from media...What does he do...Walks into a crisis and scores one of the best innings. What a cricketer...this is why he is among the very best in the world.Waddaplaya...

  • POSTED BY on | June 21, 2011, 2:24 GMT

    I dont understand why some people cant accept sanga is a great player.ok,he doesnt have the best record in england,but few shortcomings in an otherwise glittering career wont take the shine off him.so,even shane warne is mediocre,he has an apalling record in india.even the greatest sportsman of our times lionel messi is average,he has never scored in italy and has scored just 1ce in england.he apparently cant play with his right foot,so he's not good enough!

  • POSTED BY ChandraPrince on | June 21, 2011, 1:35 GMT

    "Respice Finum" Look to the End─was the motto that Kumar Sangakkara grew up with as pupil at Trinity College, Kandy in Sri Lanka. As a cricketer he surly embodies spirit of those words and more. I was moved to see Kumar Sangakkra's guts and tenacity that frustrated so-called most fearsome pace attack of English Test Cricket team. The trio of Broad, Tremlett and Anderson were attacking the hands, chest and the ribs of batsman in their body-line pace bowling. But Sangakkara was undaunted. He abundantly displayed his technical skill as a batsman, driving the ball to the boundary line over and again. Mr.Sangakkara is also a very eloquent man. His statesman like manner is quite impressive. He's the best crickter I've seen in long time and and as much that he's a astonishing human being. He embodies the spirt of the game of cricket more than anyone I know of...

  • POSTED BY Jarr30 on | June 21, 2011, 1:31 GMT

    Sri Lanka should consider lucky that rain saved their team or it would have been England 3-0.

  • POSTED BY cyniket on | June 21, 2011, 0:35 GMT

    this was an extremely one sided series. sri lanka were totally unable to put pressure on england's batsman. those who are saying that rain helped england's bowlers, well it didn't help the sri lankan bowlers did it? england's bowlers are just far better. 4 days lost! it would have been 3-0 otherwise.

    @meety. firstly, sanga is nowhere near the best batsman in the world. 1 hundred doesn't cover up his general struggles against the swinging ball and his otherwise mediocre record in england. secondly, in your assessment of the test match, you seem to be forgetting that england declared chasing a victory because of the limited time. given less rain, england could have batted for as long as they wanted and put sri lanka back in on a wearing pitch.

  • POSTED BY on | June 21, 2011, 0:03 GMT

    @flat track bully-wen did eng lose in sa?last time they went the series was drawn n they wön da odi series.ya,they lost at home to ind,bt was dat recently?dat was in 2007.and by dis very good eng team i mean the team under the tutelege of andy flower and strauss.under this regime eng hv lost just 1 test series-their 1st series away to wi.ur claims eng havent beaten the "famous sides",ok from the time the current regime took over they've beaten wi(home),aus(home n away),drew sa(away),beaten ban(home and away),pak(home) n sl(home).wat other teams ind hv beaten in da same period?u lot also drew with sa home n away n beat nz home n away,also drew sl away.so,u mean to say since ind hv beaten da famous nz home n away(eng wd also beat them),eng cant claim to be the best test side.please,get your facts right

  • POSTED BY on | June 20, 2011, 23:57 GMT

    @Meety always nice to speculate but dont' forget that England would not have declared so early. Well played by Sanga. I think the future will be tough for Sri Lanka, it became clear very early on that the best they could do was draw since the batting is good but the bowling just is not good enough, England declared in every match. Good luck for the future. @Flat_Track_bullies England Drew the last test series in South Africa and won the ODIs.

  • POSTED BY on | June 20, 2011, 23:12 GMT

    Sanga's century clearly indicated the importance of going into a test match with correct mindset and preparation. Lack of recent first class match practice and insufficent time spent in getting used to English early summer conditions clearly affected the performance of Sanga and Mahela (thanks to IPL). Undue worries on captaincy caused Sanga's first innings downfall. Still in the end Sanga rose to the occasion and played a great match saving innings. One has to understand Samaraweera's problems in countering England pacmen having played most of his cricket in the sub-continent. Still the class player he is, as the series progressed he could make the proper adjustments. I guess this innings would have silenced his critics who were calling for his removal. With an inexperienced brigade of opening bowlers and the only experienced paceman Dilhara bolwing all over the place Sri Lanka could not make inroads into strong English batting order. Yet a creditable performance by all means.

  • POSTED BY Meety on | June 20, 2011, 22:47 GMT

    Well done Sanga! Best batsmen in the world at the moment (although there is a good arguement for Trott/Cook). Imagine if there was a "timeless" clause for rain affected matches! This match was interestingly poised by the close. The Lankans with a 200+ run lead with the Poms having to bat last. England were the only side that could of won that match with the rain impact - but by stumps Day 5, I thought the Lankans had gotten on top. This match ended effectively with only 3 days of play. So if there were two days to go the 6th wicket partnership & the SL tail could of made things very difficult for England. Anyways doesn't matter, good fight back by the Lankans, look fwd to the Oz battle in a couple of months!

  • POSTED BY cricsavvy on | June 20, 2011, 22:26 GMT

    At last a century after so many outings in England. SL fans - refer dictionary for the word "Great"

  • POSTED BY Flat_Track_bullies on | June 20, 2011, 22:03 GMT

    England can be number 1 - but they recently lost to India at home! Lost to south africa away! they need to start beating proper teams away before the all famous english media start jumping on 'number 1' bandwagon....

  • POSTED BY on | June 20, 2011, 21:31 GMT

    What's his middle name? Is it class or cool?

  • POSTED BY nickydude on | June 20, 2011, 21:00 GMT

    LOL... nuttin new.... Sanga produces these innings once in a while after the series is gone. Remember, last yr the series in India & so many times before as well.. :)

  • POSTED BY Lord.emsworth on | June 20, 2011, 20:48 GMT

    A draw yes but the Lankans should have higher ambitions than playing not to loose. Sanga's century enabled a draw yes but he left it late, much too late. England had already won the series. The Sri lankans unsung heroes in this match are Herath, Samaraweera and to a certain extent Dilhara Fernando. Yes you heard me right Dilhara, but not the bowler but the 'batsmen'. His 39 in the first innings showed up the much hyped Mahela and Sangakarra who prodded and poked miserably for a few paltry runs which they had largely done the entire series. Night watchmen Herath's heart warming brave knock in the closing overs on the 4th day and his even braver continuation on the 5th day morning really changed the tide of the game and perhaps forced Sangakarra to bite the bit in his mouth and pull off that century. Samaraweera, probably the worlds most improved test batsmen didn't allow the momentum to drop with his quick 87 and sealed a draw.

  • POSTED BY mrgupta on | June 20, 2011, 19:58 GMT

    I don't know but i felt that in the end SL was playing for saving in all the 3 tests. They lost the first but barely managed to save the second and the third. Never once did they dominate the English. but still as Jayaw'dene will say they passed the Test of the character .... again :-)

  • POSTED BY Mazharul on | June 20, 2011, 19:53 GMT

    Sanga, at last you agreed the case of adjusting coming from IPL. I think you prefer money over the country. If you played well in the series from the beginning, Board has nothing to say about your IPL. but You and mahela...i think u know better... In this tour, who came early, played well...Look at stats..Sanga, mahela, mendis, randiv, fernando late comers are failed....

  • POSTED BY cyclist00752 on | June 20, 2011, 19:49 GMT

    Well said rana2000 regarding rain. Also I think it is slap on the face now to admit adjusting to conditions take a while.

  • POSTED BY Ellis on | June 20, 2011, 19:48 GMT

    Well done, Sanga! You proved the truism that " When the going gets tough, the tough get going." An important innings not only for yourself, but also for SL cricket. You were well supported by Herath and Samaraweera and the steel that often disappears from SL performance was happily in full display. Samaraweera played a bold innings, and Herath a solid one. Hopefully this innings, and the overall team performance are good omens for the ODI series. This Test series was lost in two hours of madness and lack of nous. That is a regret, but credit to England who always had SL under pressure throughout the series. What say the fair weather, over-the-top SL supporters who have called for Sangakkara to be dropped? In the end, class always comes through. Time for some humble pie, or the SL equivalent!

  • POSTED BY Charindra on | June 20, 2011, 19:45 GMT

    Pure class. He seemed determined!

  • POSTED BY Herath-UK on | June 20, 2011, 19:37 GMT

    Class cannot be denied and will shine at the right time.His Essex innings gave him the time in the middle to score this wonderful ton.Had he left IPL earlier to join the first practice game,he would have surely scored the ton he richly deserves at the Lords.Hope he and Mahela learnt a lesson to put the country first Ranil Herath - Kent

  • POSTED BY KingOwl on | June 20, 2011, 19:19 GMT

    One thing about the rain I like to point out. I see that all the reports imply that if not for the rain, England could have won by a larger margin. But let us not forget that England benefits enormously from the rain because when the weather is bad, it seams around. If the weather was fine and the sun was on the back of the Sri Lankan players, there was no way that England could have ever taken 20 wickets in any of these three tests.

  • POSTED BY KingOwl on | June 20, 2011, 18:33 GMT

    Congratulations Sanga! I think we must take back the criticism. This was a captain's knock, under pressure, on a really tough wicket. Can't ask for more. Wish this form was there from the beginning. If so, SL would have at least drawn the series, but could have gone for a win.

  • POSTED BY sanath007 on | June 20, 2011, 18:29 GMT

    Great player...Great knock on a lively,bouncy surface

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  • POSTED BY sanath007 on | June 20, 2011, 18:29 GMT

    Great player...Great knock on a lively,bouncy surface

  • POSTED BY KingOwl on | June 20, 2011, 18:33 GMT

    Congratulations Sanga! I think we must take back the criticism. This was a captain's knock, under pressure, on a really tough wicket. Can't ask for more. Wish this form was there from the beginning. If so, SL would have at least drawn the series, but could have gone for a win.

  • POSTED BY KingOwl on | June 20, 2011, 19:19 GMT

    One thing about the rain I like to point out. I see that all the reports imply that if not for the rain, England could have won by a larger margin. But let us not forget that England benefits enormously from the rain because when the weather is bad, it seams around. If the weather was fine and the sun was on the back of the Sri Lankan players, there was no way that England could have ever taken 20 wickets in any of these three tests.

  • POSTED BY Herath-UK on | June 20, 2011, 19:37 GMT

    Class cannot be denied and will shine at the right time.His Essex innings gave him the time in the middle to score this wonderful ton.Had he left IPL earlier to join the first practice game,he would have surely scored the ton he richly deserves at the Lords.Hope he and Mahela learnt a lesson to put the country first Ranil Herath - Kent

  • POSTED BY Charindra on | June 20, 2011, 19:45 GMT

    Pure class. He seemed determined!

  • POSTED BY Ellis on | June 20, 2011, 19:48 GMT

    Well done, Sanga! You proved the truism that " When the going gets tough, the tough get going." An important innings not only for yourself, but also for SL cricket. You were well supported by Herath and Samaraweera and the steel that often disappears from SL performance was happily in full display. Samaraweera played a bold innings, and Herath a solid one. Hopefully this innings, and the overall team performance are good omens for the ODI series. This Test series was lost in two hours of madness and lack of nous. That is a regret, but credit to England who always had SL under pressure throughout the series. What say the fair weather, over-the-top SL supporters who have called for Sangakkara to be dropped? In the end, class always comes through. Time for some humble pie, or the SL equivalent!

  • POSTED BY cyclist00752 on | June 20, 2011, 19:49 GMT

    Well said rana2000 regarding rain. Also I think it is slap on the face now to admit adjusting to conditions take a while.

  • POSTED BY Mazharul on | June 20, 2011, 19:53 GMT

    Sanga, at last you agreed the case of adjusting coming from IPL. I think you prefer money over the country. If you played well in the series from the beginning, Board has nothing to say about your IPL. but You and mahela...i think u know better... In this tour, who came early, played well...Look at stats..Sanga, mahela, mendis, randiv, fernando late comers are failed....

  • POSTED BY mrgupta on | June 20, 2011, 19:58 GMT

    I don't know but i felt that in the end SL was playing for saving in all the 3 tests. They lost the first but barely managed to save the second and the third. Never once did they dominate the English. but still as Jayaw'dene will say they passed the Test of the character .... again :-)

  • POSTED BY Lord.emsworth on | June 20, 2011, 20:48 GMT

    A draw yes but the Lankans should have higher ambitions than playing not to loose. Sanga's century enabled a draw yes but he left it late, much too late. England had already won the series. The Sri lankans unsung heroes in this match are Herath, Samaraweera and to a certain extent Dilhara Fernando. Yes you heard me right Dilhara, but not the bowler but the 'batsmen'. His 39 in the first innings showed up the much hyped Mahela and Sangakarra who prodded and poked miserably for a few paltry runs which they had largely done the entire series. Night watchmen Herath's heart warming brave knock in the closing overs on the 4th day and his even braver continuation on the 5th day morning really changed the tide of the game and perhaps forced Sangakarra to bite the bit in his mouth and pull off that century. Samaraweera, probably the worlds most improved test batsmen didn't allow the momentum to drop with his quick 87 and sealed a draw.