DateLine: 1st March 2009
Kumar Sangakkara and Thilan Samaraweera notched brilliant hundreds to help Sri Lanka recover from early wobbles on the opening day of the second day against Pakistan here Sunday.
Samaraweera followed his 231 in the drawn first Test in Karachi with a superb unbeaten 133 while Sangakkara scored 104 as the tourists recovered from 35-2 to reach 317-4 after Pakistan won the toss and put their opponents in.
Pakistan had exploited the early life from a green-looking Gaddafi Stadium pitch by removing openers Malinda Warnapura (eight) and Tharanga Paranavitana (21) and then had the prized scalp of skipper Mahela Jayawardene (30).
But left-hander Sangakkara and Samaraweera settled down gradually and benefited from some sloppy work by Pakistan fielders who dropped two crucial catches -- one off each batsman.
For Pakistan, pace spearhead Umar Gul (3-67) provided breakthroughs but the Sangakkara-Samaraweera pairing foiled all the home team's attempts until their 204-run stand for the fourth wicket was broken with the second new ball.
Sangakkara snicked to wicket-keeper Kamran Akmal in Yasir Arafat's second over with the new ball. Sangakkara hit eight boundaries during his 334-minute stay.
Sangakkara said he was shocked at Pakistan's decision to field first.
"I was surprised to be put into bat," said the 31-year-old. "The pitch looks a good batting strip and once we lost three wickets it was a case of batting sensibly. We did that and now hope when Pakistan bats, the pitch turns more."
Samaraweera had hit 19 boundaries off 205-balls when bad light stopped play 3.2 overs early. Tillakaratne Dilshan was unbeaten on three.
When Samaraweera came to the crease, Sangakkara was unbeaten on 32 but the right-hander outscored his partner, hoisting Shoaib Malik towards mid-wicket for his 14th boundary to reach his ninth Test hundred.
An over later, Sangakkara took two runs to complete his 18th Test hundred.
Both Sangakkara and Samaraweera were lucky as Sangakkara, on 55, was dropped by close-in fielder Faisal Iqbal off Malik.
Samaraweera also benefited from a dropped catch when, on 68, he edged leg-spinner Danish Kaneria but Akmal failed to hold on to the snick.
In the first session Gul removed both the openers in the space of 19 runs. Off the last delivery of the fifth over Gul had Warnapura caught in the slip by Misbah-ul-Haq.
Gul struck again when Paranavitana, who had a miserable debut with nought and nine in Karachi, played straight to gully where Malik took a smart catch.
Jayawardene, playing his last Test as skipper, added 61 for the third wicket with Sangakkara before Gul struck again. He had Jayawardene caught behind off a moving delivery soon after lunch.
Jayawardene, who hit 240 in Karachi, hit five boundaries.
Both teams made one change from their first Test line-up. Pakistan gave a Test debut to Mohammad Talha in place of Sohail Khan, while Sri Lanka made a tough call by excluding veteran paceman Chaminda Vaas and brought in Thilan Thushara.
Talha struggled with his line and went wicket-less in his 11 overs.
(Article: Copyright © 2009 AFP)
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