Friday, December 28, 2012

The 10,000 club welcomes a new member

Exactly a year after Mahela Jayawardene become the first Sri Lankan to reach over 10,000 Test runs, fellow national Kumar Sangakkara has also shot into the record books – becoming the 11th man in history to make that coveted Test target.

During an intense opening day of the Boxing Day Test with Australia, Sangakkara hit a neat cover drive off Mitchell Johnson for four to ensure his place in cricketing history. He went on to make 58 in the first innings, a respectable score considering Sri Lanka mustered just 156 from their first assault.

Despite Australia finishing day one of the second Test in complete control, the day was reserved for Sangakkara, who received a warm reception from the Melbourne crowd when that four finally flicked over the boundary rope.

What makes Sangakkara’s feat so special is the speed in which he reached this milestone. For although he joins an elite group that boasts Ricky Ponting, Rahul Dravid and Jacques Kallis in its ranks, Sangakkara becomes the joint-fastest ever player to record the feat. He sits alongside Brian Lara and Sachin Tendulkar as men who have reached 10,000 runs on their 195th innings.

Ponting was just one innings short of that record when he made the required runs against West Indies in May 2008, while Shivnarine Chanderpaul needed 239 innings to make the target.

At 35 years of age, Sangakkara is unlikely to mount an assault on Tendulkar’s all-time record of 15,645 Test runs, but his feat nevertheless confirms his status as a true legend of Sri Lankan cricket. Along with Jayawardene, Sri Lankan fans have a player they can not only be proud of, but who will hopefully inspire a new generation of batsmen to take up the Test helm.

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