230 v Pakistan, Lahore, 2001-02
It's the final of the Asian Test Championship
, and Sangakkara has just about started to get into his own. After lacklustre Pakistan batting, Sangakkara bats for three hours longer than the Pakistan innings, and scores only four less than their total. After Marvan Atapattu's golden duck, Sangakkara's eight-hour 230, taking only 327 balls and including 33 fours and three sixes, features partnerships of 203 with Jayasuriya and 173 with Jayawardene. This is his first double century - first of many to come.
232 and 64 v South Africa, Colombo, 2004
Sri Lanka have never won a series against South Africa, but are helped when Jacques Kallis drops Sangakkara on 57 in the second Test
. He goes on to score a double century full of trademark flowing drives and also hooks and cuts on anything short. In all, he bats for 529 minutes, faces 357 balls and hits 31 fours and a six before edging to slip as South Africa belatedly fight back on day two. But Sangakkara seals the series win with 64 in the second innings to set a mammoth target of 493.
157* v West Indies, Kandy, 2005
Back to his school ground, Sangakkara sees Sri Lanka get out for their lowest total
against West Indies. After the bowlers stage a comeback to secure a two-run first-innings lead, Sri Lanka again lose two early wickets. That's when Sangakkara takes charge and single-handedly sets up a winning total. His 157 contains 24 boundaries and involves partnerships with lower order too. Muttiah Muralitharan later obliges by running through the West Indies batting.
287 v South Africa, Colombo, 2006
is just monstrous, unforgiving, and efficient. Responding to South Africa's 169 and two early wickets, he finds a perfect partner in Jayawardene. It takes some separating as the two put on 624, sweeping all the first-class partnership records aside. Sangakkara makes the most of a dropped chance as he moves from the consolidating to the elegant to the clinical. For two days the bowlers struggle to find anything but the middle of the bat, but he falls just short of the elusive triple century.
156* v New Zealand, Wellington, 2006-07
Sri Lanka are nudged in the wrong places in the first Test in Christchurch, Sangakkara not the least, whose 100th run involves a controversial run-out. Turns out, he is the most determined this time around, counterattacking spectacularly as other batsmen find the going tough on a green wicket in Wellington
. The 156 come off 192 deliveries, with 21 boundaries and a six, and constitute 58.2 per cent of the team total. He reaches his fifty in 54 balls, and the hundred in 113. Lasith Malinga with the ball, and Chamara Silva with the bat in the second innings, respond well to set up a target of 504, which is when Murali comes in to play with another five-for.
192 v Australia, Hobart, 2007-08
That Sri Lanka even harbour thoughts of a miraculous 507-run chase in Hobart is due to Sangakkara, who plays one of the best innings by a visiting batsman in Australia. Sri Lanka have been outclassed in the first Test and in this
, the second, they are just waiting for the referee to count them out when Sangakkara gets into his act. He treats all the Australian bowlers, bar Brett Lee, with scant respect, scoring at will. He adds 145 with Marvan Atapattu and 107 with Sanath Jayasuriya, but Brett Lee robs him of partners both times. Running out of batsmen, Sangakkara turns from the brilliant to the audacious, as if playing in the last 10 overs of a one-day game. Rudi Koertzen ends the dream when he gives Sangakkara out caught off the shoulder; such was Sangakkara's brilliance Koertzen publicly apologises later.