Sangakkara signing off: Test veteran is Lanka's most prolific batsman

  • Agencies, Colombo/New Delhi
  • Updated: Jun 28, 2015 19:43 IST

Sri Lanka's most prolific batsman Kumar Sangakkara has said he will quit playing international cricket for the island nation during the Test series against India in August.

"This is my time to call it a day," Sangakkara, 37, told reporters on the sidelines of the second Test against Pakistan at the P Sara Oval in Colombo. The left-hander said he will play two of the three Tests against India that will take place in Sri Lanka in August. The exact dates and venues have not yet been announced.

Sangakkara's 12,305 runs and 38 centuries are the most by any batsman still playing Tests, way above second-placed Alastair Cook of England, who has 9,000 runs and 27 hundreds.

The 132-Test veteran may be below record-holder Sachin Tendulkar's Test tally of 15,921 runs and 51 hundreds, but his 11 scores of 200-plus are just one short of Australian legend Don Bradman's record of 12.

Against every nation Sangakkara averages more than 43 and has posted triple-figures against every adversary. And it's that desire for big scores that has made Sangakkara rival captains' eternal headache.

Starting in 2002 with 230 against Pakistan in Lahore, he has amassed 10 double-centuries, of which two exceed the 300 mark, and was also left stranded on 199 at Galle in June 2012.

Home (62.62) or abroad (53.13), Sangakkara's wrath has been evenly distributed, and in no foreign destination has the ex-captain averaged less than 44. When he was tasked with leading his country on 15 occasions, Sangakkara scored seven centuries at 69.60.

Sangakkara retired from Twenty20 cricket after helping Sri Lanka win the World Twenty20 title in Bangladesh last year and quit one-day internationals after the recent World Cup Down Under where he smashed four consecutive centuries.

Before giving up keeping, Sangakkara made 20 stumpings to go with his 179 catches in tests.

His ODI record is no less impressive, having totalled 14,234 runs in 404 matches, averaging nearly 42 and including 25 centuries. He took 402 catches in ODIs and has 99 stumpings against his name.

Adjudged ICC Cricketer of the Year in 2012, the former Sri Lanka captain was part of the 2014 Twenty20 World Cup-winning squad.

He was also a member of the teams which reached the 50-over World Cup finals in 2007 and 2011.

Sangakkara's retirement, following that of his former team mate Mahela Jayawardene, creates a big void for Sri Lanka but the he has no doubt the team under Angelo Mathews will cope.

"Angelo is a fantastic captain, a fantastic cricketer. I think he is the ideal man to lead this team of youngsters," Sangakkara said.

"I am going to miss playing for Sri Lanka a lot," he said. "I had the time of my life playing for Sri Lanka. I enjoyed playing every format but donning whites for Sri Lanka has been special. "I can walk away happy that good days outweigh the disappointments."

While Sangakkara bids farewell to the international scene, he will still feature in various domestic competitions around the globe including the Big Bash League in Australia for at least the next season playing for the Hobart Hurricanes.

Read: Begged Sangakkara not to quit, says Lanka skipper Mathews

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