‘Sangakkara is a wonderful human being’ – Di Venuto

(Photo: Getty Images)

By Scott Hunt

Surrey head coach Michael Di Venuto was effusive in his praise for Kumar Sangakkara, as the curtain came down on the Sri Lankan’s first-class career.

In what seems a fitting end to an extraordinary career, Sangakkara bowed out of first-class cricket with an unbeaten innings in his final game against Lancashire at Old Trafford.

He, along with the battle for second place in Division One of the County Championship, was the story that dominated the match. Unfortunately for Sangakkara and Surrey, Lancashire clinched the win to earn second spot.

The Sri Lankan, whose first-class career has spanned almost two decades, ended with 20,911 runs to his name.

“I think Sanga’s cricket speaks for itself and has done for many, many years,” Di Venuto said.

“One of the modern day greats and it’s been a privilege to have him in the dressing room.

“He is just a wonderful human being and he’s been wonderful to our younger guys, older guys and our staff. A pleasure to have around.”

His final appearance was marked by a guard of honour from the Lancashire players as he walked out for both innings.

As Sangakkara walked off unbeaten on 35 in his final knock, after Surrey wickets had fallen all around him, he received a standing ovation from every single person within Old Trafford.

His average in Division One of the County Championship this season for Surrey finished at a remarkable average of 106.50.

Sangakkara was not alone in making the headlines at Old Trafford. The veteran wicketkeeper will have appreciated the performances this season of Lancashire’s young gloveman Alex Davies.

His impressive campaign opening the batting was capped, in more ways than one as he received his Lancashire cap before going on to pass 1,000 first-class runs for the season. Remarkably he’s the first Lancashire wicketkeeper ever to achieve that feat and his performances this season may have put him in the thoughts of the England set-up.

And two men who have received England recognition, Mark Stoneman and Ben Foakes, celebrated in differing fashion, as Stoneman made 98 and Ben Foakes got a golden duck. Both Surrey men are in England’s Ashes squad.

“Test cricket is a dream but then Ashes is just that extra bit of icing on the cake and the history behind it,” Stoneman said.

“Some of the greatest Tests ever played have been Ashes Tests and to be a part of that is a dream come true.”

Result: Lancashire 268 & 179-3 beat Surrey 201-8d & 242 by 7 wickets

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