Sangakkara inspires Sri Lanka

Thu, 03 Nov 13:19:00 2011

Kumar Sangakkara passed the 9,000 Test runs milestone on his way to a very fine 112 as Sri Lanka bossed the opening day of the third Test against Pakistan in Sharjah.

Sri Lanka's Kumar Sangakkara (R) celebrates his century during the fourth day of their first test match against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi October 21, 2011 - 0

Sangakkara, in productive partnerships with Tillakaratne Dilshan then Mahela Jayawardene, kept the Sri Lanka total ticking along nicely as he brought up a magnificent century to end the opening day unbeaten with his side 245 for two.

Dilshan was also in fine form, thumping 12 fours and a six on his way to 92 before Jayawardene ended the day alongside Sangakkara on 32.

Pakistan currently lead the best-of-three series 1-0 following a draw and a nine-wicket win in the opening two matches.

But their hopes of securing a series victory were dented as Sri Lanka recovered from the early loss of Tharanga Paranavitana to move into a strong position.

Pakistan started full of purpose with Umar Gul firing on all cylinders in the opening over. The fast bowler enjoyed plenty of movement off the pitch early on and almost removed Paranavitana with his fourth delivery, only for Azhar Ali to drop the chance at short leg.

But Gul did manage to dismiss the Sri Lanka opener with his next ball, a wicked delivery that encouraged an edge which Younus Khan held at second slip.

Yet any thoughts of a successful session for the Pakistan attack were swiftly knocked back by the second-wicket partnership of Sangakkara and Dilshan.

Sangakkara brought up the 9,000-run mark when he reached 28 off a four - one of seven in a 168-ball knock, which also featured a six.

Dilshan, meanwhile, enjoyed a timely return to form with a smouldering innings, racking up his 19th Test half-century in 91 balls before reaching the break just 10 runs shy of a ton.

Saeed Ajmal eventually struck to remove Dilshan, eight run shy of a deserved century, with Younis again taking the catch.

Jayawardene provided the perfect accomplice for Sangakkara as the experienced duo once again steadied their side as Pakistan before bad light brought an abrupt end to play.

Sri Lanka have scored over 300 only once in their four innings in the series so far, during the drawn first Test in Abu Dhabi, and Pakistan claimed an easy nine-wicket win in the second in Dubai.

The "home" matches for Pakistan are being played in the Gulf region due to security concerns.

Eurosport / PA Sport

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