Jayawardene ton strengthens SL

Jayawardene ton strengthens SL


Sri Lanka's Mahela Jayawardene bats on the third day of the first test between India and Sri Lanka in Ahmedabad on Wednesday. AFP

Resuming at their overnight total of 275 for three in reply to India's 426, the visitors lost Thilan Samaraweera (70) and all rounder Angelo Mathews (17) in the first session of play at the Sardar Patel Gujarat Stadium here.

In the morning, Jayawardene and Samaraweera, who started at their overnight individual score of 36 and 45 respectively, completed individual half centuries before the later was brilliantly caught at square leg by a leaping Yuvraj Singh off Ishant Sharma, just 35 minutes before lunch.

The fourth wicket duo, who put on 138 runs in 166 minutes and 250 balls, looked untroubled against the spin duo of Harbhajan Singh and Amit Mishra and completed their half centuries before India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni summoned the second new ball.

Off spinner Harbhajan Singh struck just before the lunch, dismissing Mathews caught at short leg by Gautam Gambhir to bring the Indians firmly back into the contest.

Dhoni's tactic of taking the new ball paid dividends when the 33-year-old Samaraweera, after striking nine fours in his 166-minute innings, pulled a short Ishant delivery to the right of Yuvraj who leapt and completed a tumbling catch.

Although the wicket boosted India's hopes, Jayawardene and Mathews prevented further damage till the last over before lunch.

Both Jayawardene and Samaraweera looked untroubled against Harbhajan and Mishra in the morning. A back-foot punch to the cover brought up Samaraweera's fifty in 96 balls.
The 32-year-old Jayawardene, who back cut Harbhajan for the first four of the morning, followed suit ten minutes later by reaching his 36th half century and in the process also bringing up Sri Lanka's 300 in the 75th over.

India asked for the second new ball after 80.1 overs, 35 minutes after play began today but the move did not yield result initially. Despite a leg slip in place, Jayawardene glanced the gangling Sharma for two fours to fine leg. Samaraweera flicked the right-arm pacer.
Samaraweera's dismissal, notwithstanding, Jayawardene continued and struck Zaheer Khan for three fours in an over.

This resulted in Dhoni's calling back Harbhajan and Mishra just before the lunch. But Mathews welcomed the leg-spinner with a six off a no ball over the long-on boundary and then pulled him disdainfully for a four.

However, Mathews departed in the next over when he stepped out to Harbhajan only to be beaten by the turn and bounce to give a simple catch to short leg's hands, which looked controversial in TV replays.

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