Kumar Sangakkara rose to fourth place in the list of century-makers as he and the retiring Mahela Jayawardene plundered Pakistan’s bowlers on the rain-hit third day of the first Test 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 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 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.
Jayawardene, set to quit Test cricket at the end of this two-Test series, showed he was good enough to prolong his 17-year career as he survived an anxious start to hit an unbeaten 55.
When on 11, Jayawardene won a television review after English umpire Ian Gould declared him leg-before off Junaid Khan. Replays showed the ball missing the off-stump.
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 [Saturday], 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.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 9th, 2014.
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