Wednesday 19 December 2007 

Jayawardene Hits Record Century After England Double

Sri Lanka 384-6 (M Jayawardene 149no, Dilshan 84) after 129 overs v
England in Galle

Sri Lanka lead the three-match series 1-0

Mahela Jayawardene completed a Sri Lankan record 21st Test century to nullify the effect of England taking two quick wickets prior to tea on day two of the third Test in Galle. He and Tillakaratne Dilshan got within four balls of batting through the opening two sessions but Sri Lanka closed the day on top.

Play was suspended due to bad light with Jayawardene unbeaten on 149, having added a record seventh-wicket partnership of 97 for Sri Lanka against England with Chaminda Vaas (46 not out) and the home side nicely placed on 384 for six.

Earlier, resuming on 147 for four, Sri Lanka batted cautiously under cloudy skies, with Jayawardene and Dilshan making it to 211 at lunch, then scoring a 148-run partnership before Dilshan was run out for 84, attempting a run to take Jayawardene to his century.

Jayawardene duly completed his 21st Test century, and sixth against England, without fuss shortly after tea as he continued to defy England's attempts to gain complete control of the match.

Once past his century, Jayawardene expanded, reverse-sweeping Panesar and lofting Kevin Pietersen over mid-off, never looking anything less than utterly comfortable at the crease.

Dilshan, recalled to the side to replace Jehan Mubarak, was the more aggressive of the pair, as if trying to prove a point, although both batsmen made the best of a reprieve apiece, Alastair Cook dropping Dilshan early on in the gully and Matt Prior missing a tough chance to dismiss Jayawardene.

Cook made up for his mistake with a direct hit to dismiss Dilshan, who misjudged the single to take his captain to a century by the slightest of margins. Prasanna Jayawardene was then caught by Prior three balls later, giving Ravi Bopara his first Test wicket, for a duck.

The wickets gave England renewed hope of a victory in a match they must win to avoid a series defeat and a slide down the rankings, although Jayawardene and Vaas frustrated them for the rest of the day, instead leaving Sri Lankan in charge.

The pattern of wickets coming in pairs followed by hefty Sri Lankan partnerships continued, with England unable to break the cycle, not helping themselves by turning in a particularly poor fielding display, although they might point to a couple of umpiring decisions that didn't go their way.

© Cricket World 2007