Kumar Sangakkara and the magic numbers

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Remember The Magic Numbers? Are they still going? Wikipedia says they are. Chart positions say they aren’t really.

But this post isn’t about The Magic Numbers. It’s about Kumar Sangakkara’s magic numbers. Scorecards never tell you the full story, but when a batsman’s made 203 out of 356 in response to the home team’s 221, you have a pretty comprehensive synopsis. How could that be anything other than an exceptional innings?

Without wishing to sound like we’re announcing the National Lottery results, here’s another magic number for you as a bonus. In the 82 Tests in which he hasn’t kept wicket, Kumar Sangakkara’s batting average is 69.85.

That number again: 69.85.


Mike Gatting wasn't receiving the King Cricket email when he dropped that ludicrously easy chance against India in 1993.


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  1. The magic numbers where all fat weren’t they? They had a catchy song which I cannot remember.

    kumar is class.

    1. One of my friends was once kept awake by a late-night party in the house next door. Think it was on a schoolnight, too. It turned out to have been the Magic Numbers, who knew his neighbour. Don’t think the aforementioned friend actually met the beardy chubsters.

      I think that’s the kind of low-rent celebrity gossip that belongs here.

    2. The drummer from Shed Seven offered our cousin a fiver for her oven glove at a house party way back when.

    3. You’ll do realize that this post represents the most “Magic numbers” mentions in the last few years, is there anything Kumar Sangakkara can’t do?

    4. According to De La Soul, three is the magic number. I have no reason to doubt their knowledge of such stuff. Kumar Sangakkara has three Ks, which certainly lends credibility to their thesis.

      By the way, under no circumstances look up the lyrics of The Magic Number by De La Soul. It will make your brain hurt, and will make you think Matthew Hayden is a clear and lucid speaker.

    5. And those three Ks make anagramming his name especially difficult. Having said that, I have often wondered whether getting a place on Noah’s boat was a result of previous actions.

      Ark karma? Ask a gnu.

  2. Cricinfo stat.: Sangakkara has scored more than half his team’s total in an innings four times. Hutton equalled this; only Bradman and Lara (5 apiece) beat it.

    Sanga is a monster. Seems to go unappreciated compared to many other greats, like Tendulkar, Kallis, and even Chanderpaul: but he’s a monster

    1. Sangakkara is what a German engineer would make if tasked to create a batting machine. He’s never going to have a 100 shots for each delivery, he’ll probably have just two, but he’ll play those shots with absolute precision.

  3. The most staggering thing is that SL were 70-odd for five at the end of the first day. I watched half an hour of the second day and Sanga was going nowhere. Must have been some recovery.

  4. An epic innings and now we’re in real trouble! It took a special catch to get rid of Sanga, something that Boult is starting to specialise in. Great post in Sportsfreak.co.nz’s blog showing three recent 1-handers he’s taken.

  5. KC favourite Mathew Hayden is having a crack at journalism, and has started off with the following disappointing piece, disappointing because it does’t contain his usual brutal murdering of the English language. Instead, I can’t believe how someone can write an article so long without actually providing anything interesting at all, although he does chip in with an impressive number of 7 word sentences. http://www.news.com.au/sport/cricket/matthew-hayden-says-staying-in-virat-kohlis-face-is-the-key-to-winning-the-sydney-test/story-fndpt0dy-1227174845930

    1. It is a strange piece though. Almost every sentence is in its own paragraph, and while I understand that this is not necessarily Hayden’s fault, it does make it seem like each one is a completely separate idea. I think there are a lot of “I think” openings as well, and a lack of commas that would make most sub-editors reach for their Special Comma Inserting Pen before reaching for the scotch bottle (If he hasn’t solidified his place with some big scores by the time Mitchell Marsh is fit then he might be in trouble because suddenly the added benefit of his bowling isn’t as important and he must be judged as a No. 3 batsman).

      All in all, the whole thing feel like it’s been written by a seven-year-old. Perhaps that’s effectively what has happened. Perhaps Hayden has been told that to become a journalist he has to learn English again, from the start. Or maybe Hayden just had the piece ghost written by a seven-year-old. That would at least explain the relative lack of nonsensical word salad.

    2. I think this is one of those “Matthew Hayden was talking to [insert name of journalist]” pieces where an amount of scrubbing has gone on in the editing phase to remove all Haydenisms, although some traces remain (“… the logic of putting that scoreboard pressure and, if you like, series position pressure on India”).

  6. The Magic Numbers did an ‘in-store’ gig in Fopp in Manchester once – I was in the shop for the start of it but didn’t realise it was happening.

    I was in the upstairs/ground-level bit, looking at books, and over the speakers there was someone going ‘2…1-2’ over and over again, with exactly the same intonation. It sounded a bit like they were saying ‘d’you want to’, and was really annoying. Only later did I realise it was the singer from the Magic Numbers.

    One day I’ll work that up into an anecdote.

    1. I can’t remember now Bert, but in all likelihood I was looking for something like ‘Seasons in the Sun’, the book about the early 70s by Dominic Sandbrook, or something by Hunter S Thompson, but probably ended up buying (1) a book about The Fall/The Stone Roses/The Smiths and (2) something slightly pretentious like the collected correspondence of William Burroughs to offset it. That’s how most of my visits to Fopp go.

      They don’t have many cricket books in Fopp, but they do always seem to have the 2005 Ashes DVD boxset for around £2. Also the books are downstairs now, I think.

  7. I couldn’t get all the way through the article, but it did seem as though it had been written in bullet points rather than prose.

    I’d go so far as to say that Hayden has discovered an entirely new way of butchering the English language.

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