Skipper Mahela Jayawardene became Sri Lanka's leading century-maker yesterday as Sri Lanka dampened England's hopes of a series-leveling win in the third and final Test.
Jayawardene was unbeaten on 149 as Sri Lanka, taking advantage of a butter-fingered English display, carried their overnight score of 147-4 to an almost impregnable 384-6 by stumps on the rain-hit second day.
Play began 90 minutes late due to a wet outfield caused by heavy rain on Tuesday evening, further curtailing a match in which just 55 of the stipulated 90 overs were bowled on the first day.
Jayawardene, who became Sri Lanka's leading run-getter during his 195 in the drawn second Test, surpassed Aravinda de Silva's record of 20 centuries with his second consecutive ton.
His five-hour knock, studded with 15 boundaries, gives the hosts a chance to press for a 2-0 series win over the remaining three days and clinch second place in the official rankings behind Australia.
Jayawardene and his overnight partner Tillekeratne Dilshan defied the England bowlers till just before tea in a 149-run partnership for the fifth wicket.
Dilshan, returning to the side after being ignored for the recent tour of Australia and the previous two Tests against England, marked his comeback with a stroke-filled 84.
England grabbed two wickets against the run of play in the last over before tea, but Chaminda Vaas (46 not out) prolonged the tourists' agony by adding 97 for the unbroken seventh wicket with Jayawardene.
The unexpected breaks came after a bungling effort in the field by England, who dropped three catches, had one turned down, and saw an unnecessary overthrow from captain Michael Vaughan go for four runs.
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