The Sri Lankan is ahead in terms of overall numbers, but it’s the Australian who has tasted the more success, especially at ICC events
Both Kumar Sangakkara and Michael Clarke called time on their illustrious careers over the past couple of days, signalling the end of two eras. Both Sangakkara and Clarke have left an indelible mark not just in cricket in their respective countries, but also around the world.
In Sangakkara’s career, the year 2012 holds a special place, when he scored a total of 1444 runs in 14 Tests at an average of 60.16. To add to that, he amassed 1457 runs in 37 One-Day Internationals. The numbers didn't go unnoticed, as he took home a number of ICC awards that year – Cricketer of the Year, Test Cricketer of the Year and the People’s Choice.
Clarke, too, was in the middle of a dream run at the time. In the same period, he had four double centuries – the most in a calendar year – in an aggregate of 1595 runs, the most by an Australian in a calendar year and the fourth highest of all time.
Here’s a look at the Test careers of the two players through numbers:
He became the No. 1 batsman in the ICC Test rankings in December 2007 after scores of 92 and 152 against England in Kandy
He spent a total of 97 matches and 812 days as the top-ranked Test batsman in the world
He was last placed No. 1 in the world as recently as in December 2014 before losing the crown to AB de Villiers
His highest-ever mark in terms of ratings points was 938, achieved on December 1, 2007
The total of 938 points is the most achieved by a Sri Lankan and the joint sixth highest of all time
With his final tally of 12,400 Test runs, he is the highest-aggregating left hander in the history of the game
He has been selected in the ICC Test Team of the Year on seven occasions – 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014
He was named ICC Cricketer and ICC Test Player of the Year in 2012
He was named ICC ODI Player of the Year in 2011 and 2013
In February 2014, he became just the second player to score a triple century and a century in the same Test
With 11 double centuries in Test cricket, he is second only to Sir Donald Bradman
Kumar Sangakkara is at the crease for what could be his final Test innings, Can he equal Bradman's record? pic.twitter.com/if0VqswjGW— ICC (@ICC) August 21, 2015
He delivered the 2011 MCC Spirit of Cricket Cowdrey Lecture at Lord’s – the first active player to do so
In 2007, he became the first player to make scores of 150 or more in four successive Test matches
28,016 is his combined tally of international runs, the second highest ever behind Sachin Tendulkar’s mark of 34.357
He first reached the No. 1 spot in the ICC Test rankings in August 2009
He then spent more time at the top in 2012, taking his total time spent at the perch to 11 matches and 70 days
He was last No. 1 in February 2013
He was ICC Cricketer of the Year and Test Cricketer of the Year in 2013
He was named in the ICC World Test Team of the Year in 2009, 2012 (as captain) and 2013
His highest ratings points tally was 900, achieved after the 2012 Boxing Day Test against Sri Lanka in Melbourne in which he scored 106
He is one of only eight Australian batsmen to reach a total of 900 points with the bat in Test cricket
He is the first batsman to score centuries on both his away and home Test debuts
He holds the record for the highest individual scores at both the Gabba and the Sydney Cricket Ground
In 2012 he became the first player to make four scores of 200 or more in a single calendar year
With his final tally of 8643 Test Match runs, he is the fourth highest run-scorer ever for Australia
If you consider the big tournaments, Clarke edges Sangakkara. Clarke has won the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2007, the Champions Trophy in 2009 and, in 2015, he led his team to their fifth World Cup title, at home.
Sangakkara has been part of four heart-breaking ICC tournament finals. In the 2007 Cricket World Cup, Sri Lanka were blown away in the final by a blitz from Adam Gilchrist. Two years later in the ICC World Twenty20, Younis Khan and Shahid Afridi took Pakistan to a victory. Sri Lanka was in another ICC Cricket World Cup final in 2011, where India, led by MS Dhoni, dashed their hopes. Then, in the 2012 ICC World Twenty20 final, it took a superb innings from Marlon Samuels to break millions of Sri Lankan hearts.
Sangakkara, though, did help Sri Lanka to the World Twenty20 title in Bangladesh two years later in 2014.
Sangakkara averaged 69.60 as captain and 56.36 when not captaining the side. As wicketkeeper, he averaged just 40.48, but 67.51 when not keeping wickets.
For Clarke, he averaged 51.92 as captain and 46.97 when not leading the side.
They faced each other in just six Tests, Clarke averaging 65.25 and Sangakkara 62.40.