The P Sara Oval looked quiet for a farewell of one of Sri Lanka’s greatest cricketers. Until Tuesday, especially for those who had been to Kolkata and Mumbai during that fortnight of festivities surrounding Sachin Tendulkar’s good-bye game, the air had nothing in it to suggest that one of the best batsmen ever was going to retire. But Wednesday was different.
A group of workmen had arrived carrying framed images of Kumar Sangakkara and another one was busy hanging huge billboards of the left-hander’s image around the ground. The much needed flavour was being added for a memorable occasion.
The Sri Lankan team had just wound up its practice session, and Kumar was seen carrying his lunch plate in the hosts’ dressing room as captain Angelo Mathews made a move towards the press room for his pre-match conference.
“We can’t thank Sangakkara enough for what he has done for Sri Lankan cricket and want to give him a winning farewell,” said Mathews in an expected beginning to his media address.
“It’s going to be an emotion game for us He has been a great servant of the game, and a great human being will bid a goodbye to the game,” the captain set the tone in that room full of Indian and Sri Lankan reporters before going on talk about five important days of cricket ahead.
Every sportsperson, big or small, wants to leave the field in a memorable way, and Sangakkara is hoping for the same. “He wants to score a hundred and has been working hard,” Mathews informed. “I hope he does that,”
Sangakkara, who has already quit limited-overs formats, will bid cricket adieu in Colombo in the second Test against India after the hosts won a dramatic Test in Galle to take 1-0 lead in the series.
Sri Lanka made an emphatic comeback in the first Test, which India dominated for almost three days, thanks to career-best performances by batsman Dinesh Chandimal (162*) and left-arm spinner Rangana Herath (7 for 48). But the Lankan captain didn’t step back from admitting who dominated in Galle.
“India had us by the throat for three days but the boys showed a lot of courage. It was a tactical change to bring right-handers up the order against spinners and it worked for us,” Mathews added. (CNN IBN)