Kumar Sangakkara hit his eighth double-century and Prasanna Jayawardene notched up a fighting ton to thwart Pakistan’s hopes of victory and salvage a draw for Sri Lanka in their first Test in Abu Dhabi yesterday.
Sangakkara scored 211 during a marathon near 11-hour stay, while Prasanna made 120, for his fourth century, as Sri Lanka piled on 483 to frustrate Pakistan on the fifth and final day at Abu Dhabi stadium.
A cluster of wickets in the final session with Umar Gul taking 4-64 left Pakistan with an improbable target of making 170 in a maximum 20 overs, but they called it quits on 21-1 after 10 overs.
Sangakkara finally fell in the last over before tea, when he was trapped LBW by the part-time leg-spinner Azhar Ali for his first wicket in Test cricket, but not before he had frustrated Pakistan for almost two sessions.
Sangakkara batted for 651 minutes, faced 431 deliveries and hit 18 boundaries during an epic knock.
With just 25 overs remaining and the match heading toward a draw, Prasanna fell caught behind off paceman Aizaz Cheema, but by that time he and Sangakkara had changed the course of the match.
Sangakkara flicked Cheema to fine-leg for his 18th boundary to reach his double-century after 604-minutes of defiant batting, punching the air in delight.
Together with Prasanna, Sangakkara added 201 for the sixth wicket stand, erasing the previous best of 169 in Pakistan-Sri Lanka Tests for this wicket between Kamran Akmal and Yasir Arafat at Karachi two years ago.
Sangakkara, 33, has also achieved a personal landmark by scoring a double-ton as he is now third behind Sir Donald Bradman (12) and West Indian Brian Lara (nine) in terms of scoring Test double-centuries.
Pakistan captain Misbah-ul Haq employed all possible means, but the Sangakkara-Prasanna pair did not served up any chances in the first three hours. Prasanna reached his century with his 11th boundary, an uppish drive off spinner Saeed Ajmal.
In all, Prasanna hit 12 boundaries during his 273-ball knock.
Resuming at 298-5, Sri Lanka survived the morning session unscathed as the overnight pair of Sangakkara and Prasanna kept Pakistan’s three-pronged pace attack at bay to take their team to 364-5 at lunch.
Prasanna, dropped by substitute Wahab Riaz off Gul on 11 — one of six catches Pakistani fielders dropped on Friday — hit Aizaz Cheema and off-spinner Saeed Ajmal for consecutive boundaries to help Sri Lanka erase the deficit.
Sangakkara, whose wicket was crucial for both Pakistan and Sri Lanka, then came into his own hitting Ajmal for an exquisite cover drive to the ropes and gave no chance to bowlers.
Pakistan used all five bowlers, but were left to rue the missed chances of Friday which spoiled their chances of taking the lead in the three-Test series.
BANGLADESH VS WINDIES
AFP, CHITTAGONG, BANGLADESH
The second day’s play in the opening Test between Bangladesh and the West Indies was called off without a ball being bowled yesterday because of a wet outfield following overnight rain.
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