Mahela Jayawardene and Thilan Samaraweera smashed double hundreds during a world record stand of 437 as Sri Lanka left Pakistan with a mountain to climb in the opening Test yesterday.
Jayawardene ended on 240 and Samaraweera struck a career-best 231 as the tourists declared their first innings at 644-7, their best ever total against Pakistan, on the second day at the National Stadium in Karachi.
Pakistan, who must score 445 to avoid the follow-on in their first Test in 14 months, were 44-1 at stumps with debutant Khurram Manzoor on 18 and Younus Khan yet to score.
With the twin threats of Ajantha Mendis and Muttiah Muralitharan, the world record-holder for Test wickets, looming large on a pitch likely to take spin, Pakistan’s task looks daunting.
Muralitharan gave signs of what is in store when he dismissed opener Salman Butt for 23 in the penultimate over to underline a dominant day for the tourists.
Skipper Jayawardene and Samaraweera, who came together on Saturday evening with their team on 177-3, punished the new-look Pakistan attack with their partnership, which was the eighth best for any wicket in Test history.
The overnight pair batted with authority to beat the previous best fourth-wicket stand of 411 between England’s Peter May and Colin Cowdrey against the West Indies at Birmingham in 1957.
Resuming at 406-3, they also beat Sri Lanka’s previous best fourth-wicket stand 240.
The partnership also took Sri Lanka past their highest Test total against Pakistan, overhauling 528 at Lahore in 2002.
The two batted through all but two overs in the first two sessions before the Pakistani bowlers were rewarded with three wickets with the score on 614.
Jayawardene fell when he miscued a sweep shot off spinner Shoaib Malik and was caught one-handed by diving wicket-keeper Kamran Akmal behind the stumps. The Sri Lankan skipper hit 32 boundaries during his 531-minute stay at the crease.
Samaraweera was bowled by leg-spinner Danish Kaneria after hitting 31 boundaries during his 457-minute innings, while Kaneria finished with 3-170.