Sangakkara Century Sets Up Intriguing Final Day
Sri Lanka 298-5 (Sangakkara 161no) & 197 v
Pakistan 511-6 declared (Taufeeq Umar 236)
First Test, Abu Dhabi, day four
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Kumar Sangakkara batted throughout day four of the opening Test between Sri Lanka and Pakistan in Abu Dhabi, scoring a fine century, to keep his side in with a chance of avoiding defeat.
The elegant left-hander was unbeaten on 161 as he guided his side to a position of 298 for five at stumps - still 16 runs in arrears.
Pakistan declared their first innings on 551 for six after Taufeeq Umar hit 236 and they bowled Sri Lanka out for 197 on the opening day.
Sangakkara and Lahiru Thirimanne (68) put on 153 for the second wicket as Pakistan were made to toil in the morning and early afternoon.
However, they did not help their cause as Mohammad Hafeez dropped Thirimane twice off the bowling of Junaid Khan and once again when the batsman cut Ajmal hard to second slip.
Hafeez's bad day continued when he had Sangakkara dropped at slip by a diving Younus Khan moments before the lunch interval.
The partnership was finally broken when Thirimanne took on the arm of Azhar Ali in the deep and was found short of his ground as he attempted to complete an ambitious second run.
Mahela Jayawardene (4) and Tillakaratne Dilshan (9) then fell in quick succession, Jayawardene chopping Ajmal on as he tried to cut and Dilshan's expansive drive failing to trouble the ball as Junaid took the fielders out of the equation and knocked back his middle stump.
Umar Gul struck with the first ball of the innings to remove Tharanga Paranavitana and he repeated the trick with the first delivery with the second new ball, trapping Angelo Mathews in front for 22.
Sangakkara, who hit 16 fours during his innings - a 26th Test century - then joined forces with Prasanna Jayawardene to close the day strongly.
He has been the only Sri Lankan to look completely at ease, dealing equally well with anything short or full, dismissively pulling anything back of a length and driving classically through the covers, all the while showing the discipline and application required as he bids to help his team save the match.
© Cricket World 2011