Australia 542-5d & 210-2d Sri Lanka 246 & 410 <i>(Aus win by 96 runs)</i>: Sangakkara looks sublime despite defeat to Australia

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The Independent Online

Not even an abject decision from Rudi Koertzen could erase the memory of the wonderful innings played by Kumar Sangakkara on the last day of the Test here in Hobart yesterday. Certainly the left-hander's effort deserved a better ending that that provided by the errant umpire.

Sangakkara hooked at Stuart Clark, the ball struck his shoulder and lobbed to a depleted Australian cordon. Unsurprisingly, the quick-witted left-hander looked aghast as the finger was raised. Sri Lanka lost by 96 runs.

Sangakkara was superb. While Sanath Jayasuriya was contentedly clubbing the ball around, he was able to advance at his own pace, unfurling a stream of sweetly timed strokes, placements through cover, glides off his pads and assaults on misdirected spinners. When necessary he defended alertly, eye on ball, biding his time. Neither pitch nor bowling held any fears for him.

Not for him the tame surrender. Instead he began improvising, backing away to lift over the slips, stepping inside bumpers and guiding them to fine leg, standing still to loft over mid-off. Although he took risks, he did not give a single chance in 413 minutes. It was an astonishing effort.

Except in name Sangakkara was man of the match. Brett Lee was man of the series. Afterwards Marvan Atapattu announced his retirement from international cricket. Pity it was all such a rush.