Our brilliant stats team had come up with a list of Sri Lankans who had been dismissed in the 190s.
Kumar Sangakkara features prominently in that list, having got his name on the list on three occasions – once dismissed, once wrongly given out and once left stranded on 199. What’s the big deal you may ask? Well, there’s a small matter of sitting alongside a certain Sir Don Bradman as the joint record holder for most double hundreds in Test cricket. Sir Neville Cardus once said, ‘Cricket is a game of great uncertainty unless you have a Bradman.’ The Don scored 12 double hundreds in his career with Sanga finishing on 11.
Well, we all remember the 192, the highest score by a Sri Lankan in Australia when Rudi Koertzen’s wretched finger gave him out, Sanga didn’t nick it and it went off his shoulder. The first person to go up was Adam Gilchrist, so much for him being a fair sportsman. Ian Chappell didn’t mince any words in commentary. ‘You must be joking,” he said. Bill Lawry chipped in, ‘That was a shocker.’ Poor Koertzen has been getting lot of stick for that decision but not many are aware that he visited the Sri Lankan dressing room at close of play and apologized to Sanga.
A lot of people are unaware that before that game Sanga had scored back to back double hundreds and with eight more runs he would have completed the rare milestone of three double hundreds in a row. This was soon after his stint with English county Warwickshire and his game looked to have improved by leaps and bounds.
Pakistan were in town in 2012 and Sanga scored an unbeaten 199 in Galle and followed it up with 192 at SSC in the next game. The absence of a permanent scoreboard at Galle has been a cause for concern and Sanga was left stranded on 199 due to an error committed by the operator of the temporary scoreboard.
He has not played Test cricket for even five years but Mr. Kusal Mendis features in the list prominently, having been dismissed in the 190s twice. The maverick he is, on both occasions he tried to get to his maiden double hundred with a six – once on 194 he failed to clear long on and less than a year later he was dismissed for 196 unable to clear mid-wicket! Mendis makes people angry at the way he gets out after making batting against quality attacks look like a walk in the park. Maybe we have dwelt so much on Aravinda scoring his maiden Test century by hooking Imran Khan for six and Mendis wants to give us a new script on bravery. So far, it has only been foolhardy, and fingers crossed his moment will come in the near future.
The man who missed out in history is of course Sidath Wettiumy. He scored the nation’s first Test hundred, first 150 and Sri Lanka’s maiden double hundred was there for the taking as well but he was dismissed for 190. That too at Lord’s of all places. Sidath told our Legend’s segment that he didn’t have any regrets as he received the greatest complement in his career when Sir Viv Richards made a visit to the Sri Lankan dressing room to congratulate him on his cover drives.
No Sri Lankan has scored a double hundred at Lord’s. Marvan Atapattu was dismissed for 185 in 2002 and in 2011, T.M. Dilshan was out for 193 when Marvan himself was the team’s Batting Coach. Dilshan’s knock earned him many fans though. A week before that, Sri Lanka had been blown away for 82 runs in Cardiff, their lowest total in England. Dilshan the captain promised to fight back and he led by example. Batting with a broken thumb having been hit by Steven Finn, Dilshan struggled and missed out by seven runs. Dilshan and Sidath never scored double hundreds in their careers.
How many bowlers’ careers has Sanath Jayasuriya ended? Manoj Prabhakar, Venkatesh Prasad, Phillip DeFreitas, Kabir Ali, Vikram Solanki are just a few. He had just completed a triple hundred a week earlier and was on 199 when Sachin Tendulkar brought the field up and gave the ball to Abey Kuruvilla. Jayasuriya was bowled trying to clear the in-field and there was pin-drop silence at SSC.
Former skipper Mahela Jayawardene and current skipper Dimuth Karunaratne were the other Sri Lankans to be dismissed in the 190s with Mahela being dismissed for 195 against England at SSC trying to play a slog sweep but managing only a top edge to first slip off Monty Panesar.
Dimuth’s 196 in Dubai went a long way in ensuring that Sri Lanka ended Pakistan’s unbeaten run in the UAE and he was unlucky to be bowled off an inside edge having played so well for over nine hours in the scorching heat.
While these Sri Lankan players have been unlucky to not reach the milestone, there are a few who had missed out against Sri Lanka as well. Late Martin Crowe was on 299 and he was all set to become the first triple centurion from New Zealand when a harmless delivery from Arjuna Ranatunga cost him his wicket – caught behind.
Then of course there is Mohammad Azharuddin given out leg before wicket on 199 in Kanpur. Umpire V.K. Ramaswamy was the most hated man in India that day. At a time when there were no DRS, he could have got away with that one.