Sangakkara savours emotional landmark
Kumar Sangakkara‘s day three hundred at Lord’s was the result of technical adjustment and unwavering focus, according to Sangakkara and the man who celebrated with him on the pitch, when he moved to triple figures. Mahela Jayawardene is on the Lord’s honours board twice, and he was thrilled when Sangakkara added that accolade to an already outstanding Test career.
“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do,” Sangakkara told Sky Sports. “I just did a bit of preparation, changed a bit in my technique right from the start and I’m pretty happy it worked.
“Lord’s is a very special place to play your cricket at, and Sri Lankans have done pretty well individually here. It feels very special to get on the honours board.”
Sangakkara, who scored a hundred on this ground in the one-day series, had had his eyes on a Lord’s hundred for some time, but Jayawardene’s advice to him had been to treat it as any other innings.
“I was happy for Kumar. A lot of people were talking about it back home as well. I was quite relieved,” he said. “Today he was a man with a purpose – the way he batted. I was thrilled for him. I haven’t seen him leave so many balls outside the off stump for quite some time. There were a few he could have probably gone after, but he didn’t. He was quite determined to get that.
“The only thing I told him was, ‘don’t worry too much about the hundred.’ His record in the last eight years or so is amazing. I don’t think anyone would have said anything if he hadn’t got his hundred, so that’s what I told him. It’s probably our last time out here, so he was quite determined. It was good for the team in that he anchored the innings and most of the guys batted around him, so it was an ok situation going into the fourth day.”
After one of the more memorable century celebrations in recent times, Jayawardene embraced Sangakkara, almost leaping on his shoulders from behind, as Sangakkara gestured to his dressing room, and there was relief for both men, Jayawardene said.
“I didn’t say anything after the century. I knew that he was overwhelmed, and he said, “I’ve ticked that box”. Before that I was just telling him, ‘Just bat normally, it will come.’ I was a bit worried when he was in the 90s, he was a bit nervous, but he batted really well and I’m really proud of him.”
Sangakkara was himself glad to share the moment with his good friend. The pair put on 126 together for the third wicket – their 17th century stand in Tests. “It was very, very good to have him there, because he’s done that twice before and knows how special that feels so to have him there when I scored the hundred was very special.”
England assistant coach Paul Farbrace offered his congratulations to Sangakkara, a man he had coached only months before during his brief stint as Sri Lanka’s coach. “From a personal point of view I’m delighted he’s got the hundred he wanted at Lord’s. He’s a world class player and a world class person.
“Yes, I’d have loved to see the back of him at nought from a team point of view, but the team respects him for the player he is. A lot of our young batsmen have enjoyed watching him score runs over the years. You’d say he’s been one of the best players for some time.”