GALLE, Sri Lanka: Kumar Sangakkara struck a sparkling 221 to move to the second spot in the all-time list of Test double centurions as Sri Lanka grabbed the lead before declaring their first innings on day four of the first Test against Pakistan yesterday.
Sangakkara’s 10th double century put him just two behind Australian great Don Bradman’s 12 as Sri Lanka declared at 533 for nine wickets for an 82-run first innings lead before returning to strike a late blow as well.
“I think everyone is second to the Don. I’m pretty happy that I’m two double-hundreds behind him but that’s probably the only way I can even get close to reaching him, so I’m pretty happy with the day’s play,” Sangakkara said.
Pakistan were four for one wicket in their second innings at stumps, having lost opener Khurram Manzoor for three to Rangana Herath.
Ahmed Shehzad was one not out and Saeed Ajmal yet to open his account with Pakistan still trailing by 78 runs with nine wickets in hand.
The day, however, belonged to Sangakkara who brought up his double century with a single off Ajmal, sparking off celebrations in the ground.
His batted for 11 hours and 38 minutes, hitting 24 fours in his marathon 425-ball knock.
Sangakkara endured some torrid moments, however, before reaching the double century when Ajmal followed up the dismissal of Angelo Mathews (91) before the tea break with a further three cheap wickets as Sri Lanka slumped to 475-7.
Ajmal, without a wicket in the previous 47 overs, picked up four for 13 in 6.3 overs, also dismissing Kithuruwan Vithanage, Niroshan Dickwella and Dilruwan Perera.
Sangakkara’s marathon knock came to an end when he stepped out to Abdur Rehman and was stumped by wicket-keeper Sarfraz Ahmed.
“My first double hundred was against Pakistan in Lahore. Since then I’ve just had a knack of scoring against them,” added Sangakkara.
“Maybe it’s because I’m a left-hander. Maybe their spinners find it a bit difficult to bowl to me... I don’t know. I think I’ve had a bit of good fortune as well along the way. They sometimes drop a few catches along the way which helps me. Sometimes as a batsman you feel in sync and in rhythm with a certain attack and I think the Pakistanis have been like that for me.”
Sri Lanka appeared set to bat through the afternoon session unscathed until Pakistan picked up the wicket of Mathews when the batsman pushed forward at an Ajmal delivery and was caught in the slip. The dismissal ended his 181-run stand with Sangakkara.
Earlier Sangakkara, still on his overnight score of 102, cut the first ball he received from Junaid Khan straight to point where Abdur Rehman spilled an easy catch.