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Sangakkara’s Picture of An Innings bests his Artistic Shadow

May 26, 2017

Michael Henderson,  courtesy of  The Times, May 20 2017, where the title reads“Sangakkara produces a picture of an innings to put Surrey on top”

 Sangakkara passed his portrait at Lord’s before his 113 not out yesterdayGRAHAM MORRIS/THE TIMES
At 12.30pm yesterday, after a dank morning that had just admitted the first trace of brightness, something remarkable occurred. On the fall of Surrey’s second wicket Kumar Sangakkara left the dressing room and, on the stairs that lead to the Long Room, the great Sri Lankan batsman walked past a portrait of himself that had been hung on the wall only the day before. He then made 113 of the most lyrical runs you will see this summer, or any summer, to remind everybody that he remains a cricketer in the present tense. No sentimentalist, he. Five months short of his 40th birthday, Sangakkara continues to bring distinction to a game that he has adorned for two decades, and aren’t we the lucky ones!

 

There is not much to be said of his mastery that has not been said before, and many times. But who is so mean of spirit that familiarity with this kind of skill does not bring joy? Even the Middlesex bowlers, one imagines, enjoyed the contest. They did not bowl badly. But they found a great batsman with his circus animals all on show.

Will elegance suffice as a definition? Not really, because elegance only goes so far. It cannot by itself bring 12,400 runs in Test cricket at an average, 57, that constitutes one of his strongest claims to immortality.

Jacques Kallis, for instance, is one of only four men to have plundered more Test runs. Yet nobody of sound mind ever greeted daybreak by pulling back the curtains and declaring: “Our cup runneth over, for Kallis bats today.” Such folk may exist but they are usually to be found muttering to themselves on buses. So clearly style, no less than statistical achievement, counts for something in any estimation of greatness. There are choices to be made in watching cricket, as well as playing it, and what we most admire reflects our temperament as it does a cricketer’s. Perhaps we can say that if we batted in our dreams like Sangakkara we would never want to wake up.

He hit the first ball he received, from James Franklin, to the cover boundary. But it was not a belligerent start. Watchful, happy to give the first hour to the bowlers who took three Surrey wickets for 83 after Middlesex had told them to bat, Sangakkara knew that he had all day to mould the innings, and he is a patient man.

In the early stages of their partnership, which raised the score by 114, Dominic Sibley was the more expansive. Missed at first slip by Adam Voges on 22, Sibley had just brought up his half-century, with the scent of another 50 runs in his nostrils, when Voges accepted a catch that gave Tom Helm a compensatory wicket.

 A run-out attempt was one of the few times when Sangakkara looked in any sort of trouble against Middlesex yesterdayPHILIP BROWN/GETTY IMAGES

By now Sangakkara had begun to display his gems, as might a jeweller. He drove Toby Roland-Jones through cover and then, with a stroke that sang a melody of summers past, flicked the bowler to the pickets at mid-wicket. Rapture! Then he went down the ground, to punish Franklin.

The sun came out. The bowlers toiled. They ran in hard. He saw them clear. Rain stopped play. He carried on. Enter Rayner. First bounce four. Hard lines, Ollie! Two short balls. Two pulls. Two sixes. His century arrived, from 132 balls. We stood in gratitude.

Ben Foakes, one of the coming men of English cricket, was caught behind shortly before the rain returned, seriously this time. If Surrey bat deep into the second day, and then bowl as they have been doing, Middlesex will have to play like the champions they are to resist them. It should be a very good match. These sides meet, for the first time in years, on level ground.

Back to the portrait. Has any player, tongues wagged throughout the day, ever walked past a tribute to himself in the famous pavilion while he was still an active cricketer? Not many. Alec Stewart, who was on the Surrey balcony yesterday, and Mike Atherton were painted in 2000, while they were still Test performers. Seven years later Shane Warne and Muttiah Muralitharan joined the roll call of greats.

But until last night no cricketer living or dead could say that he had made a century at the home of cricket and then point his bat at the wall and say: “That’s me, that is. And I’m not through yet.” Fittingly Sangakkara’s portrait hangs alongside that of his friend and comrade, Mahela Jayawardena, who supplied 11,814 Test runs of his own to the Sri Lankan cause. Two great batsmen, indisputably. Painted at Lord’s by Antony Williams, they are there by right. And so the game honours its past, and renews itself.

Surrey resume this morning on 265, with five wickets intact. Middlesex will try to hurry things along. Standing in their way is one of the greatest cricketers. All glory, laud and honour, Kumar Sangakkara.

Scorecard

Middlesex v Surrey

Date:
19 May 2017
Match:
Venue:
Lord’s, London
Start time:
19:30
Umpires:
Michael Burns / Peter Hartley
Toss:
Middlesex won the toss and elected to bowl.

Match Drawn

Surrey First Innings
313 all out (89.1 overs)
Middlesex First Innings
411 all out (107.4 overs)
Surrey Second Innings
339 all out (126.2 overs)
Middlesex Second Innings
92 for 2 (28.0 overs)
Surrey First Innings Runs Mins Balls 4s 6s SR
Extras (0nb 0w 5lb 0b) Total 313 all out (89.1 overs)
Rory Burns c Ollie Rayner b James Franklin 33 102 69 3 0 47.83
Mark Stoneman c John Simpson b Steven Finn 33 57 40 6 0 82.5
Scott Borthwick lbw James Franklin 8 29 18 0 0 44.44
Kumar Sangakkara c Ollie Rayner b James Franklin 114 226 160 11 2 71.25
Dominic Sibley c Adam Voges b Tom Helm 54 131 111 8 0 48.65
Ben Foakes c John Simpson b Steven Finn 19 61 37 4 0 51.35
Sam Curran c Ollie Rayner b James Franklin 2 26 16 0 0 12.5
Thomas Curran c Ollie Rayner b Toby Roland-Jones 16 40 34 2 0 47.06
Gareth Batty * c Steven Finn b Tom Helm 12 52 22 2 0 54.55
Stuart Meaker c Stevie Eskinazi b Tom Helm 17 31 22 1 0 77.27
Mark Footitt not out 0 9 6 0 0 0
Bowling O M R W Econ nb w
Toby Roland-Jones 23 4 70 1 3.04 0 0
Tom Helm 23.1 2 81 3 3.50 0 0
Steven Finn 21 3 80 2 3.81 0 0
James Franklin 15 3 40 4 2.67 0 0
Ollie Rayner 7 1 37 0 5.29 0 0
Fall of wickets Overs
55 Mark Stoneman 12.5
74 Scott Borthwick 19.3
83 Rory Burns 23.1
197 Dominic Sibley 55.5
264 Ben Foakes 70.3
268 Kumar Sangakkara 73.6
269 Sam Curran 75.6
285 Thomas Curran 82.4
309 Gareth Batty 87.3
313 Stuart Meaker 89.1
Middlesex First Innings Runs Mins Balls 4s 6s SR
Extras (8nb 2w 10lb 1b) Total 411 all out (107.4 overs)
Nick Compton c Ben Foakes b Mark Footitt 19 75 49 3 0 38.78
Nick Gubbins lbw Sam Curran 17 33 27 3 0 62.96
Stevie Eskinazi c Ben Foakes b Mark Footitt 67 137 87 12 0 77.01
Dawid Malan c Ben Foakes b Stuart Meaker 115 307 214 16 0 53.74
Adam Voges c Scott Borthwick b Stuart Meaker 9 31 20 1 0 45
John Simpson lbw Mark Footitt 11 50 42 2 0 26.19
James Franklin * c Rory Burns b Stuart Meaker 112 185 142 14 4 78.87
Toby Roland-Jones c Mark Footitt b Thomas Curran 30 48 38 4 1 78.95
Ollie Rayner c Dominic Sibley b Thomas Curran 8 29 20 1 0 40
Tom Helm c Sam Curran b Stuart Meaker 2 17 9 0 0 22.22
Steven Finn not out 0 6 0 0 0
Bowling O M R W Econ nb w
Thomas Curran 26.4 5 72 2 2.70 0 0
Sam Curran 20 4 81 1 4.05 0 0
Mark Footitt 22 3 105 3 4.77 2 1
Stuart Meaker 23 5 92 4 4.00 0 1
Gareth Batty 14 2 31 0 2.21 0 0
Scott Borthwick 2 0 19 0 9.50 0 0
Fall of wickets Overs
20 Nick Gubbins 7.2
50 Nick Compton 17.1
150 Stevie Eskinazi 39.1
172 Adam Voges 45.6
204 John Simpson 59.2
334 Dawid Malan 92.1
387 Toby Roland-Jones 101.5
399 James Franklin 102.6
410 Tom Helm 106.4
411 Ollie Rayner 107.4
Surrey Second Innings Runs Mins Balls 4s 6s SR
Extras (0nb 1w 4lb 0b) Total 339 all out (126.2 overs)
Rory Burns lbw Toby Roland-Jones 10 29 16 1 0 62.5
Mark Stoneman c Adam Voges b Toby Roland-Jones 0 14 10 0 0 0
Scott Borthwick lbw Ollie Rayner 49 186 143 7 0 34.27
Kumar Sangakkara c John Simpson b James Franklin 120 275 210 14 0 57.14
Dominic Sibley b Toby Roland-Jones 9 47 34 2 0 26.47
Ben Foakes not out 67 248 170 6 0 39.41
Sam Curran c John Simpson b Ollie Rayner 51 101 91 6 1 56.04
Thomas Curran b Ollie Rayner 22 31 38 4 0 57.89
Gareth Batty * lbw Toby Roland-Jones 6 47 39 1 0 15.38
Stuart Meaker b Dawid Malan 0 6 5 0 0 0
Mark Footitt c Nick Compton b Dawid Malan 0 8 2 0 0 0
Bowling O M R W Econ nb w
Toby Roland-Jones 27 5 76 4 2.81 0 0
Tom Helm 18 5 54 0 3.00 0 1
Steven Finn 23 1 94 0 4.09 0 0
James Franklin 11 3 16 1 1.45 0 0
Ollie Rayner 45 11 94 3 2.09 0 0
Dawid Malan 2.2 1 1 2 0.43 0 0
Fall of wickets Overs
5 Mark Stoneman 2.6
16 Rory Burns 6.1
139 Scott Borthwick 49.6
171 Dominic Sibley 61.5
210 Kumar Sangakkara 77.5
293 Sam Curran 104.2
317 Thomas Curran 112.4
330 Gareth Batty 123.6
331 Stuart Meaker 124.6
339 Mark Footitt 126.2
Middlesex Second Innings Runs Mins Balls 4s 6s SR
Extras (0nb 0w 0lb 1b) Total 92 for 2 (28.0 overs)
Nick Compton c Sam Curran b Mark Footitt 18 47 34 2 0 52.94
Nick Gubbins c Ben Foakes b Sam Curran 5 14 10 1 0 50
Stevie Eskinazi not out 31 94 80 4 0 38.75
Dawid Malan not out 37 63 44 6 0 84.09
Adam Voges
John Simpson
James Franklin *
Toby Roland-Jones
Ollie Rayner
Tom Helm
Steven Finn
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One comment

  1. Yes,
    Sanga makes us all very proud not only about his sublime cricketing heights but also for his charming personality…..
    GERALD PEIRIS



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