The left-hander, known for his elegant strokeplay, retired from the game as one of its true greats. He was one of Sri Lanka’s biggest match-winners in an international career that spanned across 15 years.
Sangakkara career stats
From August 20 to 24, 2015, Sangakkara played his final game for the Sri Lankan national team – a Test match against India at the P Sara Oval in Colombo.
Incidentally, that match also marked the first Test victory for Virat Kohli as the captain of the Indian team.
India toured Sri Lanka for a three-Test series that year, with the hosts winning the first game in Galle by 63 runs. The action then shifted to Colombo and the second Test was Sangakkara’s last match in international cricket.
The visitors won the toss and elected to bat first, with KL Rahul (108), Kohli (78), Rohit Sharma (79) and Wriddhiman Saha (56) guiding them to 393 all-out.
Sangakkara got a start in Sri Lanka’s first innings but couldn’t capitalise after getting to 32. But skipper Angelo Mathews (102) and Lahiru Thirimanne (62) ensured the hosts got to 306.
India then rode on opener Murali Vijay’s 82 and a fine knock of 126 runs by Ajinkya Rahane to declare their second innings for 325 and set the hosts a target of 413 runs.
The stage was set for Sangakkara to put on one final masterclass and power his team to a memorable series victory. But sadly for him and the Sri Lankan fans, he could only manage to get 18 runs in his last innings and was dismissed by off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin.
Sri Lanka suffered a dramatic collapse in their second innings and were bowled-out for just 134 runs. India notched-up a 278-run win, with Ashwin and leg-spinner Amit Mishra picking seven wickets each in the match.
Despite that, and the fact that India also went on to win the third Test, the series will be remembered for Sangakkara’s farewell match as he retired as Sri Lanka’s highest run-scorer in Test cricket.
“It’s been one of the most special privileges of my life to play in front of the Sri Lankan people and Sri Lankan fans,” said Sangakkara after his farewell match.
“I’m especially thankful to your love and support. My innings has ended. I won’t play international cricket again. But I’ll come with you Khettarama, to Galle, to Tamil Union, and to SSC to watch the young cricketers play.
“To Virat and his team, thank you most of all for the wonderful cricket that you’ve played. I can’t ask for anything more than tough cricket when I’m leaving and you guys over the years have been our toughest opponents.”
Kohli added: “I just want to congratulate Kumar again on a wonderful career. I have spoken a lot about him, everyone has, in the last week, but I can’t help saying it again that it has been an absolute pleasure playing with you.”
Watch Sangakkara’s farewell speech here:
India, of course, went on to achieve plenty of success in the longest format with the leadership of Kohli. India were the No 1 side in the ICC rankings from October 2016 till April 2020. They also registered their first Test series victory in Australia during this period.
Under Kohli, India has played 55 Tests. They won 33 of these matches, lost 12 and drew 10. Kohli has the third-highest win percentage (60.00), behind Australia’s Ricky Ponting (62.33) and Steve Waugh (71.92), among captains who have led their country in at least 50 Tests.