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COUNTY CHAMPIONSHIP DIVISION 1

Sangakkara falls just short of historic ton

30 May 2017

Kumar Sangakkara's last eight first-class innings: 84, 200, 120, 114, 105, 136, 46 and 71 // Getty

MATCH REPORT

Elegant left-hander's rich vein of form continues but record-equalling sixth ton remains elusive on final day of county clash

County Championship Division 1,

ESS
SRY

Sri Lanka great Kumar Sangakkara has fallen 16 runs short of a record-equalling sixth successive first-class century and the chance to join the likes of Don Bradman in an elite group.

Sangakkara was bidding to become just the fourth player in history to score hundreds in six successive first-class innings when he strolled to the crease at 2-113 on Monday in Surrey's second-innings of their four-day clash with Essex at Chelmsford.

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As wickets tumbled at the other end, the 39-year-old resolutely passed 50 and edged closer towards the milestone.

At one stage, it appeared bad light may deny Sangakkara the chance at the record-equalling ton, with play stopped for more than an hour when he was unbeaten on 79.

But after play resumed, Sangakkara, on 84 off just 107 balls, chipped the ball back to part-time spinner Tom Westley, meaning he would have to be content with just the five tons in as many innings, the eighth player to have achieved the feat.


The match finished in a draw a short time after, with ladder-leading Essex now just one point clear of second-placed Surrey on the Division One County Championship ladder.

Surrey skipper Rory Burns, who posted a half-century of his own opening the batting in their second dig, was glowing in his praise for the 134-Test veteran.

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"There have been a few great players (at Surrey)," Burns said. "But 'Sanga' is probably the best. 

"I don't think I can do him justice with words. 

"He doesn't need a grubby left-hander who bats at the top talking about him. He's a bit purer than I am. 

"It's magnificent – what he's done in the game, and how he carries himself."


Cricket legend Sir Don Bradman, England's CB Fry and South Africa's Mike Procter remain the only players to have made six consecutive first-class centuries.

Fry achieved the feat back in 1901 for Sussex and the Rest of England, Bradman in 1938-39 when playing for South Australia and his own DG Bradman XI, and Procter in 1970-71 when representing Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) in South African first-class cricket.

Had Sangakkara reached triple-figures, it would also have been the left-hander's 100th hundred across all formats.

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Last week, he announced his illustrious first-class career would come to an end at the conclusion of this English summer, having bowed out of the international game in 2015.

The left-hander has showed no signs of slowing down this year, having struck 853 runs in red-ball cricket at an average of just over 106 so far this season.

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Sangakkara's last six first-class innings have seen him score 136 against Lancashire, 105 against Warwickshire, 114 and 120 against Middlesex – in a match where his portrait was unveiled in the Lord's pavilion – and 200 and 84 against Essex.

Surrey and Essex meet again next week at Guildford, southwest of London, in what could be a key match in deciding the destiny of the Championship title.

Most centuries in consecutive first-class innings


Six


DG Bradman (1938-39)


CB Fry (1901)


MJ Procter (1970-71)


Five


BC Lara (1993-94)


ED Weekes (1955-56)


MEK Hussey (2003)


PA Patel (2007-08)


KC Sangakkara (2017)

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