The second Test was only 30 minutes into the second afternoon when Kumar Sangakkara strode in to bat amidst the lighting of fire crackers and a guard of honour accorded to him by the Indian team. The great man was making his final Test appearance and the news of his arrival at the crease only increased the number of spectators coming to the P Sara Oval twofold maybe three.
No one who had followed Sangakkara’s career wanted to miss what would possibly be his final two innings in international cricket. He came to the crease earlier than expected, but that is quite common if you are batting in that position. A number three batter has to consider himself playing the role of an opener more often than not and Sangakkara was no greenhorn when it came to facing such situations. He’s gone though it many times in his career.
Umesh Yadav greets him with an inswinging yorker which he managed to jam down his bat to avoid having his stumps shattered first ball. He was shaky at the beginning, even great men show nervousness when it comes to an emotional farewell.
Sangakkara has to weather the storm for 13 balls before he can earn his first runs of the innings – a thick edge past gully for two, and he is on his way. He manages four fours two through the off and two to leg side His stay of 110 minutes either side of tea is not without blemish. With his score on 24 he attempted to cut spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and the ball flew off the splice of his bat to Ajinkya Rahane at slip who juggled with it before spilling it. Rahane had held a world record eight catches in the first Test at Galle which India lost.
However the ‘life’ was shortlived because soon after tea Sangakkara was out to the same combination as he pushed forward and the ball found the outside edge of his bat. He had to depart at 32 much to the disappointment of the crowd that had turned up in their numbers to see him score a hundred at least. But another innings awaits the great man when Sri Lanka bats again probably on Sunday.
Sri Lanka closed the second day at 140 for three wickets replying to India’s first innings of 393 to trail by 253 runs.
At the wickets were Lahiru Thirimanne on 28 and Angelo Mathews on 19.
Kaushal Silva who had a double failure (5 and 0) at Galle made up for it somewhat with a compact half-century before top edging a sweep to he caught at short leg. He survived a chance at 19 when he was bowled by a Stuart Binny no-ball.
Silva and Sangakkara added 74 for the second wicket after Dimuth Karunaratne had been dismissed for one by Yadav’s first ball.
The day began well for Sri Lanka with Mathews striking in the third over of the morning by having Ashwin caught at short extra cover for two.
But Mishra joined Wriddhiman Saha in a 46-run partnership to heap frustration on the Lankan bowlers until Dushmantha Chameera ended their liaison by having Mishra caught behind for 24.
Saha went onto complete his second half-century of the series before Rangana Herath brought a swift end to the Indian innings after lunch by having both Saha and Ishant Sharma lbw to end with figures of four for 81.