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July 4, 2007
Kumar Sangakkara disclosed that he drew a lot of inspiration watching Chaminda Vaas score his maiden Test hundred at the SSC when he compiled the fifth Test double century of his career against Bangladesh at the P. Saravanamuttu Stadium.
"It was not one of my most fluent innings. I had to work really hard for my runs. I didn't have a lot of rhythm when I started so I had to occupy the crease and I tried to bat out ball by ball. I knew if I batted three sessions that more often than not I will get a hundred," said Sangakkara whose unbeaten double century has placed his team in the box seat at the end of the second day of the second Test.
"The real lesson I learnt in the first Test was in Vaasy's knock. He just occupied the crease, knocked the singles around and put away the bad balls. That was a very good example for me going into this Test on how to build an innings. I was quite disappointed the way I got out in the first Test match because every time I go out I want to get runs big runs," stated Sangakkara. "I had to plan this one out a bit better.
One of the things I did was I put some of my shots in the cupboard especially the pull shot. I rarely pulled the whole innings because that's the way I got out. I wasn't that confident taking the bowlers on quite early. I told myself 'just go back and work on the basics' and make sure I spend enough time at the crease before I started playing my shots," he said.
Whenever Sangakkara has scored a century he has mostly made it big. "I like to bat as long as possible in the nets and when I go out into the middle I want to bat even longer. I know that if I get to a hundred all I have to do is keep knocking the ball around and look up at the scoreboard once every half hour and I will be surprised how fast I am scoring," said Sangakkara.
"It's just a case of getting in and staying in there. In modern-day cricket a hundred is par. All the guys are getting big runs. If you want to keep up with those guys you've got to do the same."
Sangakkara said that Sri Lanka was definitely in the driver's seat after they captured four Bangladesh wickets in the second innings for 69 runs at the end of the day. Bangladesh still trailed by 320 runs with three days left in the Test.
"A lot of credit should go to Dilhara Fernando. Chaminda Vaas was exceptional as usual. We've got to look forward to Murali coming in tomorrow and Lasith (Malinga) hopefully chipping in. We've got a very balanced bowling attack and the guys know what they are doing. Sometimes they could probably tighten up but they've been bowling fantastically well over the past year," he said.
Sangakkara admitted that he was still keen on taking on the role of wicketkeeper. "I got my first double hundred when I was keeping wickets and also other hundreds keeping wickets. I agree it gives me a lot of time to rest but first slip is not the most exciting place when you are not getting a catch for a long time," said Sangakkara.
"Wicket-keeping is an exciting thing for me. I am always involved in the side and looking forward to taking the gloves on in the ODI series. Prasanna (Jayawardene) scored runs and is doing a fantastic job. But my role is I still like to keep. I am a wicketkeeper-batsman there's no doubt about it. It's got to be how the selectors want it. They make the decisions. If they think they can get more use out of me just as a batter so be it," he said.
The day did not pass without incident. Mahela Jayawardene complained to the umpire that his concentration was being disturbed by the constant grunting of fast bowler Shahadat Hossain when he delivered the ball.
There was an exchange of words between the two players when Jayawardene was dismissed by Hossain one short of his half-century. Sangakkara who was batting with his captain during the episode said: "I don't think Mahela's confrontation with Shahadat Hossain affected him at all. He's had confrontations before with other fast bowlers and other teams. That's the beauty of a tough game of cricket where you as a batsman go out to play the ball but the bowler will always try to make you play him than the ball."
"Shahadat bowled very aggressively, he bowled quick and made life a bit uncomfortable for us in the middle. When the bowler and batsmen are trying to get an edge over each other sometimes a few words are said, but that's all in the competition. It just toughens you up. You've got to accept those situations and move on. It's a case of taking it on the chin and getting on with the game," he said.
Shahadat said that his confrontation with Jayawardene was nothing new and that it has been going on for some time. He said the best thing that could come out for Bangladesh is for them to bat out the third day. "I have confidence they can do it."
Shahadat said the series had not gone well for the Bangladeshi batsmen. "They are having a very hard time out here. This was not what was expected. This failure has continued from the first Test. We came into this series with a lot of confidence."
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