Sangakkara, Jayawardene dig in against Pakistan in rain-hit Test

Sri Lanka reach 252-2 in response to Pakistan 451 as rain washed out the post-tea session.

Afp August 08, 2014

GALLE: Sri Lankan batsman Kumar Sangakkara rose to fourth place in the list of century-makers as he and the retiring captain Mahela Jayawardene plundered Pakistan's bowlers on the rain-hit third day of the first Test match in Galle on Friday.

The hosts, who began the day at 99-1 in reply to Pakistan's 451, carried their first innings to 252-2 by tea before heavy rain wiped out the final session of play.

Just 46 of the stipulated 90 overs were bowled during the day, leaving a draw as the likely result with just 12 wickets having fallen over the first three days.

Sri Lanka will resume on Saturday trailing by 199 runs and with eight wickets in hand.

Left-handed Sangakkara - who turns 37 in October - was unbeaten on 102, his seventh three-figure knock in the last 14 Tests, taking his overall tally to 37 centuries.

Only the retired trio of India's Sachin Tendulkar, with 51 centuries, Jacques Kallis of South Africa who had 45, and Ricky Ponting of Australia on 41, have scored more hundreds.

Jayawardene, who is set to retire from Test cricket at the end of the two-Test series, showed Sri Lanka exactly what they will be missing as he survived an anxious start to hit an unbeaten 55.

The tried and trusted duo of Sangakkara and Jayawardene, whose partnership of 624 against South Africa in Colombo in 2006 remains a world record, have so far put on 108 for the third wicket.

Pakistan's spin bowling coach Mushtaq Ahmed, who served England for several years before returning to his home country, rued the lack of match practice for his bowlers.

"We bowled poorly but that has got a lot to do with the fact that we have not played Test cricket for seven months," he said. "Also there was nothing in the wicket for them, especially against such class batsmen like Sangakkara and Jayawardene.

"But this match is not over yet. If we can break through early tomorrow, it could still turn out to be a close game."

Rain had reduced play to 20 overs in the post-lunch session in which Sri Lanka scored 78 runs.

Pakistan's reputed spin attack of Saeed Ajmal and Abdur Rehman were ineffective on the flat, even-paced pitch loaded in favour of the batsmen. As if to prove the point, Sangakkara reached his century just before tea by cutting Rehman for his 13th boundary.

Earlier, Sangakkara and his overnight partner Kaushal Silva negotiated Pakistan's pace and spin attack comfortably to add 45 runs in the first hour's play.

Silva, who was on 38 at stumps on Thursday, reached his half-century by pulling seamer Junaid Khan to the square-leg fence for his ninth boundary.

Silva made 64 in the second-wicket stand of 120 when he edged a ball from fast bowler Mohammad Talha and wicket-keeper Sarfraz Ahmed dived to his right to hold a low catch.

Jayawardene walked in to a guard of honour of raised bats by schoolchildren and was greeted in the middle by applauding Pakistani fielders, as firecrackers exploded outside the ground.

But the moment did not faze him, and the veteran of 17 years immediately got into his stride, punching the third delivery he faced, from off-spinner Ajmal, to the cover boundary.

When on 11, Jayawardene won a television review after English umpire Ian Gould declared him leg-before off Junaid. Replays showed the ball missing the off-stump.

Gould then negated Junaid's appeal for leg-before against Sangakkara, then on 62, but the review system agreed with the umpire this time.

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