Sangakkara spurns gilt-edged chance to put record straight
On American Independence Day next month, Kumar Sangakkara will deliver the Cowdrey Spirit of Cricket Lecture at Lord's. It will be full of wit and wisdom, aperçus and aphorisms because Sangakkara is a clever, articulate and thoughtful chap.
It is fair to presume, even though Sangakkara is the first cricketer still to be playing at the top level to give the lecture, that it will not contain advice on how visiting batsmen might go about making runs either at Lord's or in England generally. Sangakkara, the third-ranked batsmen in the world, has an inexplicably dreadful Test record in this country.
The third day of the second Test offered him a marvellous opportunity to atone at last. He had played 14 innings previously in this country, never made more than 66 and averaged a little more than 27.
But now the pitch was as benign as he could ever expect in English conditions, Sri Lanka were in the ascendant and the man at the other end already had a hundred to his name.
For a few overs, Sangakkara was circumspect. There was one scintillating cover drive to the boundary, but this clearly meant a lot to him. Then came the second new ball. The fourth delivery with it was a beauty from Chris Tremlett, going across Sangakkara, drawing him into the shot, swinging away late and taking the edge. He was gone again, for 26.
It will be of scant consolation to Sangakkara that other significant batsmen have had trouble in England. The great Australian batsman, Doug Walters, came on four tours of this country and never made more than 88 in 30 innings. Majid Khan, the supremely elegant Pakistan player, also came four times and, although he made 98 at The Oval in 1984, his average was in the low twenties.
Part of this, perhaps the main part, is that it is different batting in England than anywhere else. Other players of present or recent vintage, notably Jacques Kallis and Matthew Hayden, have discernibly worse records in this country than elsewhere. Sangakkara has three innings, one in this match, two in the third Test, to attempt to make some amends. One century would probably do for him now.
As for Lord's, so many illustrious recent players have failed to make the honours board with a century – Kallis, Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting to mention but a few. It might even rate a mention in the Cowdrey Lecture next month.
Daniel Sturridge injury: Alongside Luis Suarez, how the Liverpool SAS may FAIL to become the most lethal partnership in Premier League history
Arsenal: Four remaining fixtures - will they beat Everton to the final Champions League place?
Liverpool: Four remaining fixtures - can they stay top of the Premier League table?
Luis Suarez: Could Liverpool cash in on their star striker if they won the Premier League this season?
Barcelona 1 Real Madrid 2 match report: Gareth Bale scores wonder goal to claim Copa del Rey for Real
- 1 Poveglia: 'World's most haunted island' up for sale...is anyone brave enough to buy it?
- 2 Babies cry at night to stop mothers procreating, scientists claim
- 3 24 people applied for the 'world's toughest job', here are their interviews
- 4 Andre Johnson: Wu-Tang Clan-discovered rapper severed his penis and jumped from LA building
- 5 Mrs Doubtfire 2: Robin Williams set to star in sequel to 1993 comedy
The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame
US Navy christens huge $3 billion destroyer ship USS Zumwalt that appears as a fishing boat on enemy radar
Scottish independence: It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
Nigel Farage fatigue? Half of voters ‘immune’ to Ukip’s appeal
Nigel Farage on Have I Got News For You: Ukip leader ridiculed over expenses and party 'fruitcakes'
Nigel Farage: I’m taking on the status quo, and the Establishment’s fighting back