I would rather be 199 than one or two or zero - Sangakkara
By Rex Clementine | June 24, 2012
A disappointed Kumar Sangakkara walks off unbeaten on 199 at Galle. © AFP/Ishara S. KODIKARA
GALLE — Star batsman Kumar Sangakkara missed out on his ninth double hundred after he was left stranded on 199, during Sri Lanka’s first innings of the first cricket Test against Pakistan at the Galle International Stadium yesterday.
Sangakkara, who completed 2,000 Test runs against Pakistan during his knock, spoke to journalists after the day’s play on missing out on the milestone.
What was going on in your mind when you were on 194?
I was looking at the scoreboard and at that time I thought I was one shot away. It seems like I was one run short and a bit embarrassing as I celebrated. I was thinking to get as close as I can. If I am a shot away, I’ll take that shot on – it was a case of trying to take the strike away from the tailender and hopefully we could get to a total of around 500. I don’t usually count until I am six or seven runs short to where I want to be. The big screen also showed 194 and the scoreboard also showed 194. But what can you do? That’s life.
What was running through your mind walking back to the pavilion?
I don’t think I can tell you. It was an honest mistake. What can you do? I had another opportunity to try and get that run but I couldn’t. I should have probably gone for another big shot the next ball but my adrenalin level had just dropped and was just trying to work a single.
The electronic scoreboard receives the score from the television feed. But while the television displayed the right score, the electronic scoreboard suggested that you were on 194.
Even though it [the electronic scoreboard] is fed by television, I think there’s someone else to operate the scoreboard of the main screen. He’s got to type it manually. People do make mistakes and it’s an honest mistake. I had an opportunity to get there and I couldn’t.
Ten years down the line, how would you feel about missing out on another double hundred?
These little things stick in your mind for some time but it was great to see how the bowlers went out there and bowled. [Nuwan] Kulasekara was brilliant. We missed him quite a lot in the Test line-up and now he is back. Nuwan Pradeep bowled some quality balls and so did Rangana Herath and Suraj Randiv.
How did you cope with the disappointment?
You need five minutes of your own [to] get deep breaths and calm yourself. It’s how you change as a player. When you’re young you get angry, throwing bats and you make a big scene in the dressing room. But now, when you go back and when you sit down and take a breather, then you realise that there are bigger things out there than being out or not out on 199. As long as you put everything in perspective. You’ve got to stay as calm as you can – it’s a lesson I’ve learnt. It’s also my father’s birthday today. It's great for me to score almost 200 because he coached me since I was 14.
You also missed out on a double hundred after being wrongly given out when on 192 a few years ago.
That’s life. Sometimes you’re given not out when you are out and you’ve got to learn to live with disappointments. That’s part and parcel of the game. I would rather be 199 than one or two or zero.
You slowed down in the morning and afternoon sessions scoring only 59 runs in that period?
The main problem was, they dropped the field down. They dropped mid-wicket down, square leg down, long on, long off and the sweeper down. That really gives you options of singles. Because I am a left-hander, they bowled lots of off-spinners. I was trying to see what shots I could play. They also bowled pretty tightly, especially in the morning session. [Umar] Gul bowled really well.
You have now joined Sunil Gavaskar as the only other player to score 2000 Test runs against Pakistan.
It’s nice. As you play longer and keep working hard, you achieve certain things that make you proud – I’m pretty happy to be in that category. It’s just a case of batting and scoring more runs if I can.
There was quite a bit of drama towards the end of the day as Pakistan lost five wickets.
This is why Test cricket is so important. You can have T20 or whatever you want but at the end of the day, this is why Test cricket is the prime format. Today was a great example. Today, what a great tussle of Test cricket and it’s a great advertisement if the ICC is looking for examples for why Test cricket is the best format.
You have an excellent record against Pakistan averaging nearly 90. Where does this knock rate among your other big innings?
My first double hundred also came against Pakistan. That was on a greener wicket against Waqar [Younis], Shoaib Akhtar, Mohammad Sami and Abdul Razzaq and that remains in my memory as one of my best knocks.
With this knock, you are sure to regain the number-one rank for batsmen in Test cricket; how big an embarrassment would it be for the world’s number-one ranked batsman to play Tier B domestic cricket next season?
Like you said, if NCC goes into Tier B it’s the responsibility of all NCC players to make sure that we turn up for every game and play every game and win every game and get on top of second division and come back into division one. I think it’s going to be a test of character for all players at NCC, if and when that happens. We have got our starts at the club, NCC was my first club and it will be my last club. It’s our duty by the club for the opportunities it gave us to turn up and do well for it.
© Rex Clementine/The Island