Classicist Sangakkara is purists' delight

Classicist Sangakkara is purists' delight

'I dont have the power of Jayasuriya, Dilshan'

Classicist Sangakkara is purists' delight

Sri Lanka will again look to Kumar Sangakkara’s exploits to tame India. AFP

His stance oozes perfection -- balanced and upright with eyes firmly set on the ball. Add to that an ever-ticking brain, a pair of light feet, quick hands and a wide range of strokes, you will get the picture of a complete batsman. Pragyan Ojha will certainly endorse that the Sri Lankan skipper owns all these said qualities.

The left-arm spinner, who had a good run on his debut Test in Mumbai, might have hoped to snaffle the big wicket. But Sangakkara told the bowler who was the night’s boss with a lofted shot over the bowler’s head off the first ball – a testimony of the left-hander’s timing and ability to place the ball precisely where he wants.

The elegant Lankan went on to add another four and a six in the next two balls as Ojha’s ambitions to inflict some damage lay in tatters. It was Sangakkara the perfectionist was on view, but a few overs later the street-smart batsman in him surfaced when Yusuf Pathan came onto bowl.

The offie bowled a bit wide of the off-stump to prevent the Lankan from carting him down the ‘V’, but Sangakkara played a reverse sweep this time sending the blob past the third man ropes and without changing the grip too! It was an incredible shot.

By the time he was run out for a 37-ball 78, Sangakkara had scored 34 runs off the 14 balls he faced from India’s main spinners, severely denting MS Dhoni’s plans.
However, against pace bowlers too he was equally effective, bludgeoning 34 runs from 16 balls against Ishant Sharma and Ashok Dinda.

It is this adaptability that makes Sangakkara a major force in all formats of the game as a Test average of 55.10 and an acceptable one-day average of 35.79 testify.
Sangakkara might not have the brute strength of a Sanath Jayasuriya or Tillkaratne Dilshan, but the Matale player still outpaces them at times. “I certainly would like to bat like a Dilshan or Jayasuryia,” he said before adding with a hearty laugh, “but I don’t have their power.

“I need to look for other ways to score as quickly as them keeping the team’s needs in mind. So I will have to resort to some improvisations and innovations to keep the board ticking. But yes, cricket is always a skill-game irrespective of what format you play. I guess blending skill and power is one of the better ways to be successful at this level,” Sangakkara said.

This innings might also have relieved Sangakkara a bit from the not-so-pleasant memories of the Test series, in which he could manage just a hundred in a losing cause in Mumbai.

“This is not a consolation for my moderate show in Tests. Yes, it is always a nice feeling to score for your team in victory and hopefully I can make more impact in the remaining matches,” Sangakkara noted.

Connoisseurs will be itching to watch some more Sangakkara classics, though the Indians will certainly not relish that prospect.