Sangakkara's sensational 2007
The year 2007 has been one Kumar Sangakkara won't forget in a hurry. His first innings of the year brought him a mere six runs, but since then it's been a massive deluge - 200*, 222*, 57, 192, 92, and 152. The two double-hundreds came against relatively weak bowling attacks - Bangladesh were at the receiving end on both occasions - but since then, stronger oppositions have also failed to staunch the runs against him. The 192 against Australia in Hobart has been arguably the finest batting performance of the year so far, while his latest innings, against England in Kandy, turned an evenly matched game Sri Lanka's way.
That innings was also his first hundred against England, which has allowed him to achieve the feat of having scored at least one century against every Test-playing team. It also made him the first batsman to register a 150-plus score in four successive Tests. Not surprisingly, he has replaced Ricky Ponting at the top of the ICC rankings for Test batsmen.
Sangakkara's 921 runs have come at an outstanding average of 184.20. If he keeps up this form in the last two Tests of the year, he will end up with one of the highest averages ever in a calendar year. Among batsmen with at least 500 runs in a calendar year, only one - Zaheer Abbas, in 1978 - has averaged more. Even Don Bradman's highest average in a year was "only" 138.
|Zaheer Abbas (1978)||3||583||194.33||2/ 1|
|Kumar Sangakkara (2007)||5||921||184.20||4/ 2|
|Wally Hammond (1936)||4||645||161.25||3/ 0|
|Garry Sobers (1958)||8||1299||144.33||6/ 3|
|Don Bradman (1937)||3||690||138.00||3/ 0|
|Hashan Tillakaratne (2001)||8||682||136.40||3/ 2|
|Charlie Davis (1971)||4||529||32.251||2/ 3|
|Dilip Vengsarkar (1986)||8||793||132.16||4/ 2|
|Geoff Boycott (1977)||4||505||126.25||2/ 2|
|Don Bradman (1930)||6||978||122.25||4/ 0|
Since 2004, Sangakkara has been in sensational form, averaging over 66 and scoring a century every three Tests. In these four years, only Jacques Kallis, with 4044 runs from 38 Tests, has averaged more.
|Jacques Kallis||38||4044||72.21||16/ 19|
|Kumar Sangakkara||36||3699||66.05||12/ 11|
|Ricky Ponting||38||3759||64.81||13/ 17|
|Mohammad Yousuf||30||3278||64.27||13/ 8|
|Younis Khan||29||3056||59.92||10/ 10|
|Rahul Dravid||40||3205||55.25||8/ 18|
|Brian Lara||31||3037||55.21||11/ 6|
|Sachin Tendulkar||32||2325||54.06||6/ 11|
|Virender Sehwag||33||2761||52.09||7/ 8|
|Shivnarine Chanderpaul||34||2705||52.01||7/ 14|
Apart from the hundred and the half-century he scored in Hobart, the rest of the runs Sangakkara scored this year have been in wins, which has considerably boosted his numbers in victories. In the 32 wins he has been a part of, Sangakkara averages nearly 90, which is second only to Bradman. Sangakkara's amazing run has pushed Inzamam-ul-Haq into third place.
|Don Bradman||30||4813||130.08||23/ 4|
|Kumar Sangakkara||32||3410||89.73||12/ 10|
|Garry Sobers||31||3097||77.42||12/ 11|
|Rahul Dravid||37||3746||74.92||10/ 18|
|Greg Chappell||38||3595||70.49||14/ 16|
|Steve Waugh||86||6460||69.46||25/ 25|
|Ricky Ponting||80||7049||65.87||26/ 27|
|Jacques Kallis||52||4411||65.83||15/ 22|
|Sachin Tendulkar||45||3793||64.28||13/ 14|
Sangakkara wasn't doing badly even when he was doubling up as wicketkeeper, but since he gave up the gloves behind the stumps, his numbers have been sensational - in the 22 Tests in which he hasn't kept wicket, Sangakkara averages a Bradmanesque 96, with 22 fifty-plus scores, which is an average of one per match.
An unwanted 50 for Sami
It finally happened off the fourth ball of Mohammad Sami's ninth over in India's first innings of the Kolkata Test - the delivery was full and outside off, Dravid eased it past point to the boundary, and four more runs were added to Sami's bowling analysis, which increased his career runs-conceded tally to 3851. Divide that by 77 - the number of wickets he has in his 32-Test career - and the result is fractionally over 50, making him the only bowler today to have the rather unwanted double of 50-plus wickets and bowling average in Tests.
|Bowler||Tests||Wickets||Average||Strike rate||5WI/ 10WM|
|Mohammad Sami||32||77||51.28||86.3||2/ 0|
|Carl Hooper||102||114||49.42||121.0||4/ 0|
|Greg Matthews||33||61||48.22||102.8||2/ 1|
|Paul Wiseman||25||61||47.59||92.7||2/ 0|
|Ajit Agarkar||26||58||47.32||83.7||1/ 0|
|Chandu Borde||55||52||46.48||109.5||1/ 0|
|Pat Pocock||25||67||44.41||99.2||3/ 0|
|Daren Powell||22||56||43.62||77.5||1/ 0|
|Fidel Edwards||27||72||43.01||63.7||5/ 0|
|Nicky Boje||43||100||42.65||86.2||3/ 0|
In the current series in India, Sami has bowled 66 overs and conceded 263 runs without taking a wicket, which increases his count of wicketless Tests to five. Admittedly, with some luck the numbers would have read slightly better - Rahul Dravid escaped a plumb lbw shout in the first Test, while Sachin Tendulkar was dropped by Kamran Akmal in Kolkata - but Sami hasn't helped his cause with some rather listless spells through both matches.
For a bowler who started off with an eight-wicket haul and a Man-of-the-Match award in his debut Test, the rest of his career has gone horribly wrong. The stats were reasonably respectable till his eighth match, but in the ninth his bowling average touched 40, and it hasn't gone below that mark since. It's hardly a surprise that he hasn't added to his Man-of-the-Match tally since that debut performance. (Click here for Sami's cumulative bowling average.)
|Wickets||Average||Strke rate||5WI/ 10WM|
|First 8 Tests||24||36.79||71.6||1/ 0|
|Last 24 Tests||53||57.84||93.0||1/ 0|
S Rajesh is stats editor of Cricinfo.