Kumar Sangakkara signed off on his stay in Division One of the County Championship with a century for Durham in their drawn match with Sussex at Hove.
The Sri Lankan posted 159 in the second outing as part of a two game loan with the North Eastern county. Now his focus will be drawn towards the upcoming Test series against England.
He will join up with the rest of the touring side on Thursday to prepare for their warm-up match at Kent. Before he visits Canterbury though, Sangakkara had some worthwhile practice in the middle in another part of the South East.
After rain had badly affected play on day two and three, the main thrust of Durham’s innings was to obtain as many bonus batting points as possible. And that objective was aided by resounding knocks from Scott Borthwick, Paul Collingwood and Sangakkara.
Despite the rain that fell, the pitch remained one that suited the batsman better than the bowlers. Luke Wright (189) and Ben Brown (163) both scored tons in the opening innings of the game as part of a 335-run partnership.
On the final day, Sangakkara, became the third centurion of the contest with a sublime knock that included some breathtakingly smooth stroke play.
The 36-year-old – who had a previous spell in England with Warwickshire – looked comfortable throughout his time at the crease, which was spent chipping away at Sussex’s total of 505-9 declared, and nearing the maximum number of batting points.
After 365 minutes in the middle, the left-handed batsman was eventually dismissed. Matt Machan’s catch off the bowling of Steve Magoffin was the crucial intervention, but not before Sangakkara smashed 18 fours and two sixes.
It was a great way for the wicketkeeper to begin his preparation of the upcoming tour of England, which includes two Test matches.
Sangakkara won’t participate in the opening competitive fixture of the tour – having retired from T20 Internationals as a world champion in April – but he will still have a lot to contribute to the side in the One Day and Test contests.
One of the most experienced players on the world stage, Sangakkara and best friend, Mahela Jayawardene, will be looking to upset England on home soil this summer.
The opening game of his spell with Durham saw him falter with the bat, contributing just 0 and 14. But he still accumulated a bit of experience at Chester-le-Street, something that will seem more worthwhile when the second ODI takes place at Emirates Durham ICG on May 25.
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