Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Sri Lanka wicketkeeper-batsman Kumar Sangakkara has announced that he is still undecided about his Test future after he scored his 11th double century against New Zealand during the second day of the second Test in Wellington.
Sangakkara is now only one double century behind equalling the legendary Don Bradman as the player with the most double centuries in Test history.
“I would love to equal Bradman,” Sangakkara said. “It just depends on how everything pans out after this World Cup. It’s really hard to predict what will happen and what my thoughts will be about my future. I’ve promised the selectors that I’ll really have a chat and reconsider to see if there are a few more months of cricket in me, Test-wise.
“I actually think the desire is always there. It’s never the lack of desire or the lack of pride you take in playing for your country that makes you take a decision to say: ‘That’s enough’. It’s just a case of sometimes just knowing it. You could be staying at home, you could be playing with your kids, you could be talking with your family or having dinner somewhere, and the thought could hit you: ‘Maybe this is the right time.’ It’s a really tough decision to make, but the important thing is that that window of opportunity to walk out on top is really small. If you miss it, you don’t know what will happen after that.”
Sangakkara also noted that his double century was made even more special since it came away from home.
“At 78 for 5 it was just a case of ensuring that we make sure to bat to score runs, rather than survive,” Sangakkara said. “It’s really easy to go into a shell at that moment and go into a mindset where you think about just seeing tough times out rather than waiting to capitalise on loose balls. The moment you try and score, the pressure is always on the bowling side to keep bowling good balls.
“The Kiwi attack has been fantastic in both games, in the sense that they’re very disciplined. But the difference comes when they’re under pressure to keep bowling those good balls, and the moment they make a mistake, if that ball goes for a boundary, that changes momentum. That’s what we did pretty well in the morning, and we tried to keep doing that right throughout the innings.”
Sangakkara also lauded batsman Dinesh Chandimal for his knock of 67.
“Watching Chandimal bat at the other end – he kept it really solid and very simple, and that really helps,” Sangakkara said. “With Chandi it’s just a case of giving opportunities. If you take young Sri Lankan batting, you have Thirimanne and Chandimal to lead the pack. You have Dimuth Karunaratne and Kaushal Silva as a solid opening pair, and you build the rest of the batsmen around them. Then you have Angelo Mathews who’s been amazing in the last year, so you have five good quality batsmen that you need to continue playing and trusting.
“That’s the key word for Sri Lankan cricket. It’s trust. They need to make mistakes, learn, and score runs. I wasn’t batting anywhere close to what Dinesh and Thiri have been batting when I was in my mid-20s. It was a daily struggle for me. Things come right and things come good as long as you get opportunities.”
Sangakkara also expects spinner Rangana Herath to become Sri Lanka’s ace card over the next three days.
“There was a bit of turn today, though there isn’t a huge amount of rough,” he said. “Herath’s very, very good with flight and pace. It’s going to be a team effort. It’s not just going to be Herath or one fast bowler. We need to work in partnerships and really build pressure, and ensure that runs come at a price, and we land the ball in good enough areas to induce a nick or a mistake from a batsman.”