ABU DHABI: Kumar Sangakkara hit his eighth double hundred while Prasanna Jayawardene notched up a fighting century to salvage a draw for Sri Lanka in the first Test against Pakistan.
Sangakkara scored 211 during a marathon near eleven-hour stay while Prasanna made 120, for his fourth century, as Sri Lanka piled on 483 to frustrate Pakistan on the fifth and final day at Abu Dhabi stadium.
A cluster of wickets in the final session, with Umar Gul taking four for 64, left Pakistan with a target of 170 in a maximum of 20 overs, but they called it quits on 21 for one after 10 overs.
Sangakkara frustrates Pakistan
Sangakkara finally fell in the last over before tea, when he was trapped leg-before wicket by part-time leg-spinner Azhar Ali for his first wicket in Test cricket but not before he had frustrated Pakistan for almost two sessions.
Sangakkara batted for 651 minutes, faced 431 deliveries and hit 18 boundaries during an epic knock. He reached his double hundred after 604 minutes of defiant batting.
With 25 overs remaining in the match, Prasanna was dismissed by Cheema but by that time he and Sangakkara had changed the game’s course.
Together with Prasanna, Sangakkara added 201 for the sixth wicket, erasing the previous best of 169 in Pakistan-Sri Lanka Tests for this wicket between Kamran Akmal and Yasir Arafat in 2009.
Sangakkara, 33, also achieved a personal landmark by scoring the double hundred as he is now third behind Sir Donald Bradman (12) and Brian Lara (nine) in terms of scoring Test double hundreds.
Earlier, resuming at 298 for five, Sri Lanka survived the morning session unscathed as the overnight pair of Sangakkara and Prasanna kept Pakistan’s three-pronged pace attack at bay to take their team to 364 for five at lunch.
Pakistan fielders dropped six catches in the innings, including one off Sangakkara when he was on 11.
The former captain was delighted to have achieved a draw for his team.“It was nice to bat under pressure and get us out of the hole,” said Sangakkara. “Prasanna batted equally well as he came out with the second new ball in play.”
Meanwhile, Pakistan captain Misbahul Haq praised Sri Lanka batsmen’s fine effort.
“They are a good team and showed that wonderfully by their effort. Full marks to Sangakkara and Prasanna,” he said. “But we let down quite a few chances, which we need to improve upon.”
The second Test starts in Dubai on October 26, while the third will be played in Sharjah from November 3.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 23rd, 2011.