After declaring at a mammoth 575-9 on Friday, England would have hoped to make significant inroads after Sri Lanka closed day two at 140-1.
Yet Sangakkara, captain Angelo Mathews (79 not out) and Mahela Jayawardene (55) helped the tourists avoid the follow-on and close 160 behind on 415-7.
A flat Lord’s pitch did not help England’s bowlers and, as a result, a draw looks likely despite England’s excellent start to the game.
Much of that is down to Sangakkara, who hit 16 fours in his 36th Test century, which was his first at Lord’s ” widely regarded as the home of cricket.
Sangakkara told Sky Sports : “It’s something (scoring a hundred at Lord’s) I’ve always wanted to do.
“Coming on this tour, which might be my last Test tour to England, I just wanted to enjoy it. If it happened, it would happen.
“I just did a bit of preparation, changed a bit in my technique right from the start and I’m pretty happy it worked.
“It’s a very special place to play your cricket at, and Sri Lankans have done pretty well individually here. It feels very special to get on the honours board.”
Fellow veteran and friend Jayawardene was at the other end when Sangakkara reached his milestone, something the latter claimed was ‘very special’.
Sangakkara believes the game is still in the balance and feels the opening session on Sunday will be crucial.
“It’s very much alive,” he added.
“It’s a pity we couldn’t keep England to 400 or just below because if that had happened it would have been a really interesting game, with us more in the driving seat.
“Right now, England will try and get the next three wickets and try and put the pressure back on us, but if we bat well – Angelo’s batting really well, the tail can hold their own – and we get another 60 or 70 runs, it’ll be a very good Test match.”
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