Jayawardene completes 8,000 runs as Sri Lanka make 247/3 (Tea Report)

February 21st, 2009 - 6:17 pm ICT by IANS  

Karachi, Feb 21 (IANS) Mahela Jayawardene became the first Sri Lankan batsman to reach the 8,000-run mark in Test cricket as his team cruised to 247 for three in the first innings at tea in the first Test against Pakistan here Saturday.

Jayawardene, who was struggling to find his form ahead of this match, struck debutant pacer Sohail Khan for a boundary to reach 41 - the runs he needed to reach the 8,000 target in Test cricket. This happened in his 101st Test.

The Sri Lankan captain was helped by the Pakistanis, who dropped him twice in the second session. First pacer Umar Gul failed to catch him off his own bowling when Jayawardene was at 17 and then Misbah-ul-Haq dropped him at 43 at slips off Sohail Khan.

Jayawardene was batting at 69 off 134 balls with the help of 10 fours when the two teams took tea. Thilan Samaraweera was unbeaten at 39 off 50 balls with seven boundaries.

The only wicket to fall after lunch was that of in-form Kumar Sangakkara, who was caught by Misbah off leg-spinner Danish Kaneria for 70. He stayed at the wicket for 164 minutes, faced 104 balls and hit nine fours.

Sri Lanka began the second session at 120-2 with Sangakkara and Jayawardene looking in fine nick. Their third wicket partnership added 84 runs off 125 balls to the Sri Lankan total.

Earlier, Sri Lanka, which chose to bat first on a perfect batting wicket after winning the toss on a sunny morning, lost their debutant opener Tharanga Paranavitana in the first over to pacer Umar Gul. But a solid 90-run partnership for the second wicket between Warnapura and Sangakkara gave them a perfect platform for a big total.

Paranavitana, 26, who replaced Michael Vandort after scoring 893 runs at 74.41 and 621 at 51.75 in the last domestic season, was unable to take that form into Test cricket. He fell for a golden duck, edging an angling delivery to Misbah-ul-Haq in the second slip.

But Pakistan, playing a Test match after 14 months, were unable to capitalize on a good start. Warnapura and Sangakkara scored fluently against Gul and debutant pacer Sohail Khan.

Warnapura, who put up his 50 off just 39 balls with the help of seven fours, fell to medium-pacer Yasir Arafat in the 18th over, when he edged one to Misbah-ul-Haq in the second slip. His 59 came off 48 balls with nine hits to the fence.

Sangakkara, who has scored three tons and two fifties against Pakistan in five Tests, continued to farm the strike after being joined by outgoing captain Jayawardene.

He completed his 50 off 84 balls after a 113-minute stay on the crease, just minutes before lunch. Jayawardene, who took his time to open his account, was unbeaten on 5. Arafat was the most impressive bowler with 1-24 while Gul bowled one spell, taking 1-33 in six overs.

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