Sri Lanka defy Pakistan

Lahore, March 1:

Kumar Sangakkara and Thilan Samaraweera notched brilliant hundreds to help Sri Lanka recover from early wobbles on the opening day of the second Test against Pakistan here today.

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 at close.

Pakistan had exploited the early life from Gaddafi Stadium pitch by removing openers Malinda Warnapura (eight) and Tharanga Paranavitana (21) and then had the scalp of skipper Mahela Jayawardene (30). But Sangakkara and Samaraweera settled down and benefited from some sloppy work by Pakistan fielders who dropped two 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. 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 for a 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 ball of the fifth over Gul had Warnapura caught in the slip by Misbah-ul-Haq. Gul struck again when Paranavitana played straight to Malik.

Jayawardene, playing his last Test as skipper, added 61 for the third wicket with Sangakkara before Gul struck again. He had Jayawardene caught behind soon after lunch. Jayawardene hit five boundaries.