Galle, Aug 8: Kumar Sangakkara stayed on fine form with an unbeaten half-century to anchor Sri Lanka’s first innings on the third day of the first Test against Pakistan in Galle today. The hosts carried their overnight score of 99-1 to 174-2 by lunch, still trailing Pakistan’s 451 by 277 runs on a good batting wicket.
Sangakkara was unbeaten on 63, the 13th 50-plus score in his last 14 Tests since December 2012. The left-hander has converted six of them into three figures, including 319 and 105 in one match against Bangladesh in February. Sangakkara, a 36-year-old veteran of 127 Tests, has hit seven boundaries in his typically fluent innings so far.
Mahela Jayawardene, who will retire from Test cricket after the two-match series, survived an anxious start to return unbeaten on 18. The overnight pair of Sangakkara and Kaushal Silva negotiated Pakistan’ 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. He immediately got into his stride, punching the third delivery he faced, from off-spinner Saeed 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.