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Sangakkara, Jayawardene keep Sri Lanka on track

Veterans share unbeaten century stand before rain wipes out final session with host on 252 for 2, trailing Pakistan by 199 runs

Sangakkara, Jayawardene keep Sri Lanka on track - Cricket News
Kumar Sangakkara (C) is congratulated by Mahela Jayawardene (R) after scoring a century.

Kumar Sangakkara hit his 37th Test century and combined with Mahela Jayawardene to put Sri Lanka on the path to safety on a rain-affected third day of the first Test against Pakistan.

Sangakkara now sits on fourth place in the list of Test century-makers, and his unbeaten hundred underpinned Sri Lanka’s batting effort on Friday (August 8) in Galle, with the home side reaching 252 for 2 at tea before heavy rains ensured no further play was possible.

Only 46 of the stipulated 90 overs were possible due to the wet weather, and a draw looked the most likely result after three days, with only 12 wickets having fallen overall.

Sri Lanka had resumed on the overnight score of 99 for 1 in reply to Pakistan’s 451, and carried its first innings lunch score of 174 for 2 to 252 without further loss by tea, with Sangakkara and Jayawardene having put on an unbeaten 108 runs.

The 36-year-old Sangakkara was batting on 102, his seventh century in the last 14 Tests. His tally of 37 overall is now behind only Sachin Tendulkar (51), Jacques Kallis (45) and Ricky Ponting (41) – who have all retired.

Jayawardene, who turned 37 in May, is set to retire from Test cricket at the end of this two-Test series, but he showed he was good enough to prolong his 17-year career, remaining unbeaten on 55 at the close of play. 

The tried and tested duo, owners of the world-record stand of 624 against South Africa in Colombo in 2006, had come together at 144 for 2 and they had just nudged Sri Lanka past the follow-on mark before the tea break and the skies opening up meant there was no more play.

The second session was also marred by rain, with only 20 overs possible after lunch, in which Sri Lanka scored 78 runs. Pakistan’s spin duo of Saeed Ajmal and Abdur Rehman couldn’t get much purchase from the even-paced pitch, and Sangakkara reached his century just before tea by cutting Rehman for his 13th boundary.

Earlier, the overnight pair of Sangakkara and Kaushal Silva negotiated both spinners and pacers comfortably while adding 45 runs in the first hour.

They added 120 runs for the second wicket, before Silva (64), fell to Mohammad Talha, nicking behind.

Jayawardene then walked in to a guard of honour – school children raising bats on either flank – and was greeted in the middle by applauding Pakistani fielders as firecrackers went off. He immediately got into his stride, punching the third delivery he faced from Ajmal to the cover boundary.

He was given out lbw when on 11, but successfully reviewed the decision.