Mahela Jayawardene and Thilan Samaraweera hit punishing hundreds to lead Sri Lanka’s run charge against Pakistan on the opening day of the first Test in Karachi, Pakistan, yesterday as the tourists reached 406-3.
The Sri Lankan skipper was unbeaten on 136 — his 25th Test hundred — while Samaraweera notched 130 not out for his eighth hundred after the tourists won the toss and decided to bat.
The 31-year-old Jayawardene, whose lack of form in recent one-day matches forced him to step down from the captaincy after the current two-Test series against Pakistan, also completed 8,000 career Test runs during the innings.
Samaraweera matched his skipper shot for shot and the pair added 229 for the unfinished fourth-wicket stand, blunting Pakistan’s three-pronged pace attack on an unresponsive pitch.
Jayawardene has so far knocked 20 boundaries during his 239-ball innings. The Sri Lankan skipper hit leg-spinner Danish Kaneria for his 15th boundary to reach his century — his first against Pakistan.
He now has a hundred against all nine Test playing nations.
When on 37, Jayawardene hit debutant paceman Sohail Khan for a boundary to complete 8,000 runs in his 101st Test. He is the first Sri Lankan and 20th batsman in the world to achieve the feat. Jaywardene also rode his luck, benefiting from three dropped catches. When on 17, paceman Umar Gul dropped him off his own bowling and later on 43, Misbah-ul-Haq spilled an easy catch off a luckless Sohail.
On 123, Shoaib Malik grassed another catch, again off Sohail, to cap a miserable day for the home team.
The more sedate Samaraweera hit Malik for his 15th boundary to complete his century. He has so far hit 21 boundaries during his 155-ball knock.
In the first session, opener Malinda Warnapura and Sangakkara added 90 runs for the second wicket to help Sri Lanka recover from the early loss of debutant opener Tharanga Paranavitana, dismissed for a first-ball duck by paceman Umar Gul.
Warnapura, who hit nine boundaries, edged paceman Yasir Arafat to Haq who held a low catch in the slip.
Sri Lanka, who reached 120-2 at lunch, lost well-set Sangakkara when he miscued a drive off leg-spinner Danish Kaneria and was well caught by Haq at short mid-wicket. Sangakkara hit nine boundaries and added 84 for the third wicket with Jayawardene.
Pakistan’s first Test in 14 months failed to attract a big crowd as just a handful of schoolchildren watched the first day’s play at the National Stadium.
Pakistan’s last Test was against India at Bangalore in December 2007 and the team had not played a home Test since facing South Africa in October that year, with security concerns keeping foreign teams away from Pakistan last year.
The second Test will be played in Lahore from March 1.