ABBOTSBURY Cricket Club were jubilant despite defeat to Shillingstone after sharing the pitch with Sri Lanka legend Kumar Sangakkara.

Scorer of 12,400 runs in Test cricket, Sangakkara was one of the most formidable batters of his generation.

He recently moved to Dorset with his family and immediately integrated himself into the community, attending Dorset Over-50 and Over-60 nets and also helping to roll the pitch at Shillingstone.

Between coaching commitments in the Indian Premier League and commentary duties in the forthcoming English Test summer, Sangakkara pledged to play a handful of games for Shill.

READ MORE: Kumar Sangakkara makes Dorset League debut for Shillingstone

True to his word, he debuted last weekend at Kingston Lacy, scoring 68 before being bowled by John Burns in Shillingstone’s 76-run win.

And ahead of their fixture this weekend, Abbotsbury eagerly awaited team news from Shillingstone to confirm Sangakkara’s participation.

The Swans were duly in luck but were not overawed by the majestic left-hander, who made 16 runs from 20 balls before spinner Pankaj Nikale picked up the prize wicket, aided by a sharp catch from Elliott Gunn at mid-off.

Batting-wise, Sangakkara was overshadowed by centurion Sam Morris, who smashed 115 from 84 balls before being pinned lbw by off-spinner Simon Pengelly (2-46).

Shillingstone went on to amass 247-7 from 40 overs and Abbotsbury then had the pleasure of facing Sangakkara’s bowling.

Usually known as a wicketkeeper-batter, Sangakkara (2-21) demonstrated his skill with leather in hand as he claimed the wickets of Nick Kneebone (28) and Simon Pittman (5).

Swans’ skipper Dave Worsdell struck 39 from 58 balls in Abbotsbury’s reply, which was boosted by a rapid 22 not out from Harry Testa-Fisher, Kneebone and Chas Duerdoth (16).

However, the Swans were well behind the run rate and eventually closed on 142-7, at least depriving Shill of maximum points despite the 105-run loss.

After the game, Sangakkara made time to speak with Abbotsbury's players, take photos and he even signed seamer Avid Alam's bat.

Kumar Sangakkara, right, signs Abbotsbury seamer Avid Alam's batKumar Sangakkara, right, signs Abbotsbury seamer Avid Alam's bat (Image: ABBOTSBURY CC)

Worsdell described competing against Sangakkara as an “unforgettable day”.

He told Echosport: “It was a dream come true to play against Kumar, a cricketing legend and great guy.

“Credit to Pan and Kynan (Brian) who bowled superbly at him and to Elliott for snaffling the highest-pressure catch in Abbotsbury history!

“Although we didn’t get the result, Saturday was what cricket is all about for the Swans, playing with a smile and creating memories none of us will ever forget.

“Sharing a beer with such a legend and amazing guy after the game capped an unforgettable day.”

And for Nikale, conqueror of Sangakkara on the day, undoubtedly the biggest wicket of his career will go down as “something special” for the left-arm spinner.

Pankaj Nikale, left, with Kumar SangakkaraPankaj Nikale, left, with Kumar Sangakkara (Image: ABBOTSBURY CC)

He said: “There was a buzz in the camp knowing the legendary Kumar Sangakkara was playing against the team.

“More than the outcome of the game, what excited everyone was his presence. Interacting and playing against him was something special. What a humble and down-to-earth gentleman he is.

“I was hoping to bowl him. When he came down to bat at number five, I knew the pitch wasn’t turning and he hit me twice for boundaries.

“I thought of playing him on the off-side and it worked. Elliott took a brilliant low catch and he’s now forgiven for dropping catches in the future off my bowling!

“I shook Sangakkara’s hand and the crowd must have been disappointed by not seeing Kumar get going, but lifetime memories were created.

“Abbotsbury has been a great team to be part of. Skipper Dave and Simon Pengelly have been the backbone and we are a great team together.

“But I want to dedicate my dream-come-true moment to my family and my daughter’s sweet prayers, they all watched me getting Kumar Sangakkara out. What a moment!”

Abbotsbury next visit Symene Sports in County Division Three on Saturday (1pm).