County Championship Division 1
Sangakkara makes history with fabulous five
Evergreen Sri Lankan scores a fifth straight century to rescue Surrey in County Championship
27 May 2017, 11:39 AM AEST
Kumar Sangakkara might be just five months shy of his 40th birthday but the Sri Lankan's appetite for scoring runs is as strong as ever.
On Friday in Essex, the Surrey signing, who this week announced this would be his final season of first-class cricket, became just the eighth player in history to register five consecutive first-class centuries, having notched scores of 136, 105, 114 and 120 in his four previous trips to the middle in the County Championship.
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But Sangakkara saved his best for the clash with Essex at Chelmsford, rescuing his side from dire straits at 5-31 with a magnificent 177 not out, as the visitors went to the close on day one at 7-334.
It took the left-hander's tally for the County season to 769 runs at an average of 128.16, and made him the first man since Parthiv Patel in 2007 to manage a streak of five hundreds in consecutive innings.
Sangakkara's former national teammate, current Sri Lanka skipper Angelo Mathews, wasn't surprised by the veteran batsman's latest feat, and expected more records to come from his bat before the season is out.
"He's just a freak," Mathews said after Friday's defeat to Australia in their Champions Trophy warm-up.
"He keeps scoring hundreds and hundreds.
"He's got the Surrey record as well and I'm pretty sure he's going to break many more records in his last season."
Sangakkara's most recent effort also took his career centuries tally to 99 (first-class and List A combined), while he's also the only man in ODI history to score hundreds in four consecutive matches.
Against Essex, he had a life on 46 when England batsman Alastair Cook spilled a sharp chance from New Zealander Neil Wagner at first slip.
Allrounder Sam Curran, who made 90 in a crucial sixth-wicket stand with the Sri Lankan, said he enjoyed batting alongside a legend of the game.
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"It was amazing, I didn't really expect that at 11:30, I'd be in batting with him, especially after winning the toss," Curran told BBC Radio London.
"Fair play to the Essex guys, they bowled top of off stump and made a good pitch look like a good bowling wicket.
"But, batting with Kumar was probably only the third or fourth time I have in four-day cricket.
"We're going to miss him at the end of the year when he goes, but we're going to take in whatever we can right now.
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"It was literally incredible batting with him. He told us to dig in deep to start with and just take 20 minutes at a time and then go from there.
"He helped me through the way and that's the best time to score runs when the team needs you."
If Sangakkara can manage a sixth century on the trot, he would join CB Fry, Don Bradman and Mike Procter in an even more elite club.
Most centuries in consecutive first-class innings
DG Bradman (1938-39)
CB Fry (1901)
MJ Procter (1970-71)
BC Lara (1993-94)
ED Weekes (1955-56)
MEK Hussey (2003)
PA Patel (2007-08)
KC Sangakkara (2017)