TWO weeks to the day since he scored his 100th hundred at Headingley in all forms of cricket, Kumar Sangakkara made his 101st at the Leeds ground too.
For Yorkshire, it was a case of deja vu that they could have done without; for the smattering of spectators present, it was yet more memories to pass on to the grandchildren.
Sangakkara’s unbeaten 180 lifted Surrey to 516-7 declared on day two of the pink-ball game, Yorkshire reaching 27-1 in reply.
The visitors flayed 142 runs in 19.1 overs when play began three hours late due to rain, Sangakkara striking 98 of them en route to his sixth hundred in 11 Championship innings this year and, in the process, becoming the first to 1,000 runs in this season’s tournament.
Aged 39, and in his final year as a professional cricketer, the silky Sangakkara remains a sensation.
The Sri Lankan is enjoying what might paradoxically be termed an Indian summer; only Yorkshire captain Gary Ballance comes anywhere near to his run-scoring tally.
For the record, Sangakkara’s Championship scores this year are 71, 46, 136, 105, 114, 120, 200, 84, 4, 26 and now 180no. In the nicest possible way, Yorkshire will not be the only ones glad to see the back of his flashing blade.
“He’s as good as you’re going to come across and it was a really good test for us,” said Yorkshire’s assistant coach Rich Pyrah.
“He played really well, although I didn’t think that we hit our lengths as consistently as we can.
“It was frustrating, but Sanga is a class player and it was very difficult to stop him scoring.
It was frustrating, but Sanga is a class player and it was very difficult to stop him scoring. There’s a lot of cricket still to be played, and hopefully we can bat well ourselves.Yorkshire assistant coach, Rich Pyrah.
“There’s a lot of cricket still to be played, and hopefully we can bat well ourselves.”
After the rain, play began at 5pm – the teams’ work starting just at the time of day that many people’s finish.
Surrey resumed on 374-6, and there were 67 of the 96 overs to be bowled.
Beneath glowering skies, the floodlights were on right from the start, which made Headingley feel more like nearby Elland Road in winter than Headingley in summer.
If anything, the pink ball seemed easier to see than it had on day one, when sunny conditions largely prevailed.
Sangakkara was certainly seeing it as clearly as he had on the first day, cover-driving his second ball from Jack Brooks to the junction of the Trueman Enclosure and the White Rose Stand.
Sangakkara then cut Brooks for four and pulled him to the rope to reach the milestone of 1,000 runs.
When he tickled Ben Coad off his legs to the foot of the Carnegie Pavilion, he had his 62nd first-class century – to go with 39 in List A games – from 136 balls with 12 fours and a six.
For Yorkshire, it was tough going as the left-hander danced down the track to strike Coad into the Football Stand before paddling him over wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow’s head.
In an eye-blink – or 28 balls to be precise – Sangakkara had raced from 100 to 150, Surrey striking 102 runs in the first 50 minutes.
After a while, Yorkshire simply did not know where to bowl as Sangakkara inflicted his damage in the company of Tom Curran.
The pair had added 158 in 24 overs – a Surrey seventh-wicket record against Yorkshire – when Curran finally uppercut Tim Bresnan to Steve Patterson at third man, his departure for 44 bringing the declaration.
Sangakkara, who also clubbed Adil Rashid and Joe Root for sixes over mid-wicket, made his 180 from 183 balls with 21 fours and four sixes in total.
He walked off to a fine ovation from the home supporters, who know greatness when they see it and are happy to applaud it.
After Sangakkara’s assault, Yorkshire were up against it and they lost Adam Lyth with the total on 11 in the eighth over.
The left-hander was pinned by a ball from Sam Curran that shaped slightly away from him and trapped him dead in front.
Root arrived and was off the mark second ball when he worked Sam Curran off his pads for a single.
A gorgeous punch through the covers off Tom Curran followed, the England Test captain rocking back on his heels to persuade the ball to the East Stand boundary.
Rain returned just before tea and did not relent to permit a restart, with more bad weather forecast today and tomorrow.
It meant that Ballance, who has now left the match to play for England Lions against South Africa and been replaced by substitute Harry Brook, did not bat in the game – an ironic coda to a crazy affair.
Yorkshire all-rounder Will Rhodes, 22, has signed for Warwickshire. He will join them at the end of the season after his contract at Headingley expires.