Majestic Jayawardene Century Halts England Progress

Majestic Jayawardene Century Halts England Progress
Majestic Jayawardene Century Halts England Cricket
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Sri Lanka 289-8 (M Jayawardene 168no) v England
First Test, Galle, day one

Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene stood alone in defying the England bowlers in the first Test in Galle, his majestic unbeaten 168 the highlight of the opening day.

His 30th Test century helped his side close on 289 for eight although he was dropped twice in the final session by Monty Panesar, leaving England frustrated with what might have been.

After Sri Lanka won the toss and chose to bat, seamers James Anderson (3-56) and Stuart Broad (1-66) made early inroads, debutant Samit Patel grabbed a couple of wickets and two Sri Lankans were run out.

But for Jayawardene's excellence, this would have been comprehensively England's day. It still should have been but Panesar let him off, first after he top-edged Anderson and then when he lofted Broad to mid on.

Anderson tore into the top order and gained good reward when Lahiru Thirimanne (3) and Kumar Sangakkara (0) drove loosely outside off stump in consecutive deliveries, Graeme Swann and Matthew Prior holding catches behind the wicket.

That brace earnt him his 250th in Tests and when he had Prasanna Jayawardene trapped in front later on, he levelled the tally of Lancashire's Brian Statham - 252.

Broad then struck to have Tillakaratne Dilshan caught by Strauss at slip for 11 and Sri Lanka were reeling at 15 for three.

Jayawardene joined forces with Thilan Samaraweera, who made 20 in 82 balls before he was run out by Anderson, but the pair had blunted the new ball and taken the home side to 67 for four.

Dinesh Chandimal (27), Prasanna Jayawardene (23) and Suraj Randiv (12) then played supporting roles in the shadow of Jayawardene.

His innings was full of glorious strokes including an array of delightfully placed cover drives, well-timed cuts and he was confident enough to dance down the track to the slow bowlers, hitting 20 fours and three sixes in all.

© Cricket World 2012