Sangakkara, Jayawardene foil Pakistan, draw Test

Courtesy: International Cricket Council

Kumar Sangakkara hit his eighth double hundred and Prasanna Jayawardene notched up a fighting century to thwart Pakistan’s hopes of victory to salvage a draw for Sri Lanka in the first Test on Saturday.

Sangakkara scored 211 during a marathon near eleven-hour stay while Prasanna made 120, for his fourth century, as Sri Lanka piled on 483 to frustrate Pakistan on the fifth and final day at Abu Dhabi stadium.

A cluster of wickets in the final session with Umar Gul taking 4-64 left Pakistan with an improbable target of making 170 in a maximum 20 overs, but they called it quits on 21-1 after 10 overs.

Sangakkara finally fell in the last over before tea, when he was trapped leg-before by the part-time leg-spinner Azhar Ali for his first wicket in Test cricket but not before he had frustrated Pakistan for almost two sessions.

Sangakkara batted for 651 minutes, faced 431 deliveries and hit 18 boundaries during an epic knock.

With just 25 overs remaining and the match heading towards a draw, Prasanna fell caught behind off paceman Aizaz Cheema but by that time he and Sangakkara had changed the course of the match.

Sangakkara flicked Cheema to fine-leg for his 18th boundary to reach his double hundred after 604-minutes of defiant batting, punching the air in delight.

Together with Prasanna, Sangakkara added 201 for the sixth wicket stand, erasing the previous best of 169 in Pakistan-Sri Lanka Tests for this wicket between Kamran Akmal and Yasir Arafat at Karachi two years ago.

Sangakkara, 33, has also achieved a personal landmark by scoring a double hundred as he is now third behind Sir Donald Bradman (12) and West Indian Brian Lara (nine) in terms of scoring Test double hundreds.

Pakistan captain Misbah-ul Haq employed all possible means but the Sangakkara-Prasanna pair did not served up any chances in the first three hours. Prasanna reached his hundred with his 11th boundary, an uppish drive off spinner Saeed Ajmal.

In all Prasanna hit 12 boundaries during his 273-ball knock.

Resuming at 298-5 Sri Lanka survived the morning session unscathed as the overnight pair of Sangakkara and Prasanna kept Pakistan’s three-pronged pace attack at bay to take their team to 364-5 at lunch.

Prasanna, dropped by substitute Wahab Riaz off Gul on 11 — one of six catches Pakistani fielders dropped on Friday — hit Aizaz Cheema and off-spinner Saeed Ajmal for consecutive boundaries to help Sri Lanka erase the deficit.

Sangakkara, whose wicket was crucial for both Pakistan and Sri Lanka, then came into his own hitting Ajmal for an exquisite cover drive to the ropes and gave no chance to bowlers.

Pakistan used all five bowlers but were left to rue the missed chances of Friday which spoiled their chances of taking the lead in the three-Test series.

The second Test starts in Dubai on October 26, while the third will be played in Sharjah from November 3.

  • Priyantha

    Recently I read an cricket (Sri Lanka’s) criticism by Osman Samiuddin in a newspaper called “TheNational”. While the author was talking a Sri Lankan team’s poor winning records in Austraila, South Africa and India he talked about individual performances too. Yes, we would love to have good performances both team-wise and individually. But my opinion is that players should not be stressed on for improving individual records. More often individual records come in the context of poor performances by the others in the team. Yes, then we need someone to save the match. But players should be always encouraged tp perform as a team for winning matches. A player must not be worried if he has not scored a century in a particular country: suppose each time the team travels in that country the team performs well therefore no need of individual big scores.

    Playes should look after their physique, most importantly eye-sight and mentatlity. They need to hink as a team towards the goal of winning matches. Then individual records may come automatically where needed.

  • Ajith

    The composition of the team has to change. In my opinion we need to carry 2 specialist spinners for all test matches and even one dayers and get upul tharanga as a regular test match opener.why is he only kept for one dayers he has the right technique,skills & experience to play for the team in all forms of the game compared to many others who are been experimented with to no avail.come on selectors have faith in the tested players and bring about the changes if you want to win matches.

  • Priyantha

    Congratulations Sanga!!!! Hope to see similar performances from you and others

  • chathura ranmal d.

    well done sanga. You are the best cricketer in world. I have’nt dought about that. Because you are a real gentleman. You show it from your behavier. So i respect you.