Jayawardene thwarts England in first Test | Pakistan Today

Jayawardene thwarts England in first Test

Skipper Mahela Jayawardene crafted a classy century to steer Sri Lanka out of trouble on the opening day of the first Test against England in Galle on Monday. Jayawardene hit an unbeaten 168 as the hosts recovered from a disastrous 15-3 by the fourth over to move to 289-8 by stumps at a Galle International Stadium packed with some 8,000 English supporters. Fast bowler James Anderson claimed two wickets off successive balls in his second over and new-ball partner Stuart Broad chipped in with the third after Sri Lanka won the toss and elected to bat.
Jayawardene retrieved the situation by adding 52 for the fourth wicket with Thilan Samaraweera (20) and 61 for the fifth with young batsman Dinesh Chandimal (27).
Tailender Rangana Herath contributed just five runs in an eighth-wicket stand of 62 with his captain, who reached his 30th century with a paddle sweep off Graeme Swann for a boundary. As the bowlers wilted under the hot sun, England were left to rue three dropped catches — two by Monty Panesar and one by Anderson — that reprieved Jayawardene.
The Sri Lankan captain has so far hit 20 boundaries and three sixes. Jayawardene surpassed Australian legend Don Bradman’s tally of 29 Test hundreds and moved to fourth place among those still playing at the top level behind Sachin Tendulkar (51), Jacques Kallis (42) and Ricky Ponting (41). Number 10 Chanaka Welegedara kept Jayawardene company at stumps on 10, the pair having added 36 valuable runs. Sri Lanka’s South African coach Graham Ford hailed Jayawardene’s “special innings” and said the fightback had ensured his team will be competitive in the match. “We had our backs against the wall when England bowled well and put us under pressure,” Ford said. “It was tough to go in at that time, but Mahela is a quality player who has been around the game a long time. “The pitch was not easy to score freely on. He had to absorb pressure, fight his way into the innings and, at a later stage, apply pressure on the opponents.
“One can never be sure how good this total is unless the other side has batted. But we are in a competitive situation now from what we were in the morning” Anderson, who claimed his 250th Test wicket with the dismissal of opener Lahiru Thirimanne, said England needed to get over the disappointment of allowing Sri Lanka to bounce back. “If you gave us 280-odd for eight wickets at the start of the day we would have taken it,” he said. “But unfortunately we could not capitalise on the good start.
“But the more we dwell on it, the more frustrated we will get. We have a job to do tomorrow and that is to get them out early and then the batsmen have got to dig in deep. “They have to take a leaf from Mahela’s book and scrape out some runs.” Anderson had Thirimanne caught at second slip in his second over and then forced Kumar Sangakkara to edge the next ball to wicket-keeper Matt Prior.



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