GALLE - Tillakaratne Dilshan and Kumar Sangakkara struck fluent centuries as the Sri Lankan top order punished Pakistan’s wayward bowlers on the opening day of the first test on Friday.
Dilshan (101) scored his 13th test century and Sangakkara remained unbeaten after his 29th to power Sri Lanka to 300 for two wickets at stumps and vindicate skipper Mahela Jayawardene’e decision to bat first.
Sangakkara, who has an 80-plus batting average against Pakistan, was unbeaten on 111 scored off 194 balls with the help of 13 fours.
He has added 113 runs for the third wicket with Jayawardene, who was unbeaten on 55, having survived a strong leg before appeal at 21 off Umar Gul.
Sangakkara ran a risky single to draw level with Australian legend Don Bradman on 29 test centuries. The left-hander had to dive flat on his face to avoid getting run out.
Pakistan took the second new ball in the 85th over but they only managed to restrict the scoring rate with only nine runs scored off the last five overs.
Sangakkara and Dilshan batted assuredly against a Pakistan attack looking helpless on a pitch that had some bounce and turn and added 124 runs for the second wicket to lay the foundation for a big total.
Dilshan cracked 13 fours and a six in his 180-ball knock before Saeed Ajmal (2-81), Pakistan’s only successful bowler on the opening day, removed him in the penultimate over before tea.
With Pakistan’s new ball bowlers Umar Gul and Junaid Khan failing to exploit the early life on the pitch, Dilshan and Tharanga Paranavitana (24) put together a 63-run opening stand to set the tone.
Ajmal gave Pakistan their only breakthrough of the morning session when he had Paranavitana stumped by wicket-keeper Adnan Akmal off his fifth delivery.
Azhar Ali, at silly point, had dropped a bat-pad chance offered by Paranavitana off Ajmal’s third delivery.
Stand-in captain Mohammad Hafeez introduced spin as early as in the eighth over by bringing himself on but could not break he opening partnership until Ajmal was pressed into service in the 16th over.
After the productive morning session, Dilshan looked equally fluent on the other side of the lunch break.
Once he reached 81, Dilshan’s next five scoring shots were all boundaries as he raced to 101 before off-spinner Ajmal trapped him leg before with a flighted delivery.
Pakistan’s regular captain Misbah-ul-Haq is serving a one-test ban because of his team’s slow over-rate in Monday’s one-dayer in Colombo.
Sri Lanka suffered a blow on the morning of the test when left-arm fast bowler Chanaka Welegedera was ruled out with a sore shoulder, forcing the hosts to include Nuwan Pradeep in the playing XI.
For Pakistan, Mohammad Ayub made his test debut at the age of 32, replacing regular captain Misbah-ul-Haq who is serving a one-test ban because of his team’s slow over-rate in Monday’s one dayer in Colombo.