Bangladesh in Sri Lanka 2012-13 March 8, 2013

Sangakkara issues challenge to new generation


On the first day of a series aimed at regenerating Sri Lanka's Test side, Kumar Sangakkara has laid down a challenge for the young batsmen who are now set for an extended stint. Sri Lanka fielded four batsmen with fewer than ten Tests' experience, including a debutant, all of whom are yet to score a Test hundred. Angelo Mathews, who was recently appointed Test captain, has a solitary century to his name.

Of the young players, Lahiru Thirimanne finished unbeaten on 74 at stumps, having negotiated comfortably both seam and spin, alongside Mathews who was 25 not out. Dimuth Karunaratne had earlier made 41, having resumed his innings after retiring hurt when he was hit on the elbow.

"For guys like Lahiru Thirimanne, Dinesh Chandimal and Angelo, their target should be to score 35 to 40 hundreds by the time they finish," said Sangakkara, who made his 31st Test hundred on day one. "They've got the ability to do that. Thirimanne batted beautifully today and Dimuth's [dismissal] was unfortunate. Angie [Angelo] is looking really good. When you look at these younger guys, you see that they've got so much to offer Sri Lanka cricket.

"You can say there is a selfish element in getting runs and scoring hundreds, but if you keep doing that, you and your side benefit. When individuals keep pushing themselves to go beyond others, I think that's a really good atmosphere."

Sangakkara moved into tenth position on the all-time run-scoring list with his 142, surpassing Sunil Gavaskar. He had said earlier in his career that 30 hundreds and 10,000 Test runs was his career goal. He has reached both targets comfortably, but says there is still more he would like to accomplish in the game.

"Gavaskar was a fantastic batsman, and I'm very privileged to have had a career where I am able to go past him. Still I am three centuries behind him, but hopefully I can go beyond him on that count too. I'd still like more runs and more wins. I think that's what motivates all the guys who play."

Sri Lanka finished day one at 361 for 3, and Sangakkara said his side would aim to push on in the first session in day two, to set up a position from which they are unlikely to lose. Rain is unlikely to make a major impact for the remainder of the Test, but there have been short afternoon rains on each of the past three days in Galle. Sri Lanka are likely to want the game to progress quickly, to give themselves the best chance of going 1-0 up in the series.

"My idea after getting 100 was that the bowlers were tired and I wanted to get past 300. If we are able to pass 300 on day one, that makes it easier to make a declaration, after a session or so in the second day. Lahiru was batting really well, and my job was to try and accelerate and score runs quickly, so that the team was in a good position. 361 is a good score and it gives us a position to first bat one session [tomorrow], and then Angelo can decide when he wants to declare."

Sangakkara also paid tribute to Thilan Samaraweera, who retired earlier in the week after not being picked for the series. "Thilan was a magnificent servant of Sri Lankan cricket. He never had the limelight or the fame that he probably should have. I remember his debut against India - he scored almost a run-a-ball hundred, and was averaging in the 50s. Suddenly he had to stop playing cricket for two years because Aravinda de Silva made a comeback into the side. That's been the way [throughout] his career. Whenever the team wanted a shift or anything, Thilan was the easiest guy to move up or down, or in or out.

"I just hope that there will be other cricketers out there who will come in and do the kind of service that is unnoticed and unrecognised only [until] when they retire, [so they] can see what an amazing career they've had."

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Udaya on March 9, 2013, 18:28 GMT

    Its amazing how so many (including SL's) has downgraded Sangakkara as a great batsman. A test century is a test century whether its against a weak team or scored on a flat track or as people like to call "batting paradise" It takes an amazing amount of skill and unbelievable amount of hard work to score over 10,000 test runs, 30+ hundreds all over the world and and maintaining an avg. over 55 for 15 long years. I wonder how many these so called "pundits" have scored atleast a club hundred let alone a test century!!!

  • Dummy4 on March 9, 2013, 10:29 GMT

    Good challenge to set the young guys by Sanga. @endianuwagona you cannot be serious to be blaming Sanga for scoring hundreds and somehow connect that with the SL win loss ratio.....There are many reasons for sides losing games and since Murali retired SL have struggled to take 20 wickets in test matches. There are many other reasons for losing but Sanga scoring hundreds has not contributed to SL loosing! Your rational is flawed……

  • shyam on March 9, 2013, 7:17 GMT

    both sanga and mahela are over rated players..htere is not a single innigns from both oiut side srilanka which can be proved as mathc winning knock..can any one show any example of sangakara or jayavardanes big innings which makes srilanka winner in s africa or england or austraila.. ..check mate..atleast samaraveeras one century broiuht srilankas fisrts overseas vicotry in s africa.... with sangal and jayavardane with 15 years of interlanatina experience still nto won single test in australia or in india...

  • emily on March 9, 2013, 6:45 GMT

    Sangakkara is not the best batsmen that Srilanka produced but it was Aravinda De Silva but there is no status to back it though. He was the one guy who along with Arjuna Ranatunga and Jayasurya made Srilanka a force to reckon with. But Galle wicket that Sangakkara scored century is a high way road,and there is no doubt about it as most of their batsmen have scored more than half century to prove it, even Mathews has also scored 27. Period.

  • Dummy4 on March 9, 2013, 6:36 GMT

    On the day that Kumar Sangakarra scored his 31st Test century he set a challenge for Mathews, Thirimanne and Chandimal. Is he saying that these three batsmen are capable of scoring 35-40 hundreds between them or individually? There's a big difference.

  • love on March 9, 2013, 5:11 GMT

    @SriLanka Fans:- I think you people are hurt because of all these world cup final defeats but brothers you should not forget the contribution that sanga and mahela have given to SriLanka.In any format,at any place,any team can not think of victory without taking these two wickets..I think you should support both players,its a request from Indian Fan.

  • nikhil on March 9, 2013, 5:00 GMT

    @FLIPPER: I guess you need to learn to read PROPERLY before making comments . You are the one is talking tripe . You dont even read what I have written and then continue talking as if you're making some great observations. I have the fact and you're trying to bluff. I AM TALKING ABOUT his record in SA, ENG AND IND! Is it really hard to understand? Why do u take it personally LOL? The last thing I said is that Sanga is a very classy player and the best SL have ever had. That is about the highest praise he can get. no cricket fan/expert calls him an all time great as Sanga hasnt really delivered a match defining, series changing, momentum changing knock that has captured the imagination of the public LIKE LARA, SRT, VIV OR PUNTER?! A lot of his runs have come against cheap teams at HOME. And talking about my countrymen, SRT is one the greatest of all time with an avg of 54 away and 53 outside the SC Dravid 53 away 49 outside SC. Sanaga IS NOT A PATCH ON SRT, LARA , RSD, RP, LAXMAN

  • Dummy4 on March 9, 2013, 4:26 GMT

    @Prem2248 , Silly prejudice at its best. Sangakara is currently the most consistent batsman in world for ODI's and Tests. He has been in the Top 10 of those formats for ages. He has been a prolific scorer for the country across the globe and you'd have Chandimal or Mathews at his position? Seriously? That's just ridiculous. The whole argument of bringing new players for the future is nonsense if you don't use players when they reach their prime.

  • Rohan on March 9, 2013, 4:10 GMT

    Dear Mr. Sangakkara, it is not the matter of making 35-40 hundreds that count, but to ensure that your team wins more matches. You may have made 30+ hundreds. During that time, how many wins did SL register against India, SA, Aus and Eng??? Please do not teach the younger generation greed for personal goals. Teach them teamwork. However having being a long time member of the brilliant "Choking at crucial times SL team", I reckon you know next to nothing about team work and batting under pressure. I am sorry that many comments praise you for your talk and batting. Something that has not helped our nation to fill it's trophy cabinet. Furthermore, if you are the gentlemen many say you are, you should have gladly stepped down to allow a youngster to get a chance in this series. However as you may already know the Sri Lankan mentality, I reckon your hundred will help you retain your spot for another five years even if you keep getting low scores. Enjoy your stay in the side.

  • narbavi on March 9, 2013, 4:00 GMT

    @Sinhaya: First of all Sehwag's was a 201 not out and not 197 like u mentioned, then next one is how come Sanga isn't a great? He is the only Srilankan batsman who has a decent overseas record and you don't even call him a great? I haven't seen a better batsman from lanka than Sangakkara, even though he can't be compared with the likes of Kallis,Dravid,Sachin, Ponting and Lara, he is still a great!!

  • No featured comments at the moment.