Mahela unbeaten 168, mauls England attack
Sri Lanka make 289 for 8:
In making one of the best fighting unbeaten centuries 168 seen on
this ground, skipper Mahela Jayawardena helpd Sri Lanka make a
challenging 289 for 8 on the first day of the First of Two Tests against
England at the Galle International Stadium, here today.
What a knock for the 34- year old come back captain. The likeable
left arm spinner Monty Panessar provided the fun for the day spilling
two catches off Jayawardena.
Jayawardena's was a masterly knock. He came to the wicket when his
team had lost 2 for 15. Undaunted he took it upon himself to stay put at
the wicket, play a truly captain's innings and take his side to a
In getting to three figures, he notched up his 30th hundred and his
7th against England. The Galle International Cricket Stadium has been a
happy hunting ground for this proud batting son of Sri Lanka cricket.
Bowlers look ordinary
None of the England bowlers could worry him. While wickets tumbled
around him, he showed that the bowlers could be made to look ordinary,
with the right temperament, technique and if the right strokes are
He was very cool in his approach. He played all his signature shots
with superb timing and admirable footwork. The late cut, the square cut,
the cover drive, the off drive and the lofted shots over mid wicket for
six were all on show in the 20 fours and 3 sixes that he pounded.
If not for for Mahela's marvelous knock, the Lankan innings would
have been in shambles and a score of even 200 would have been only a
dream. His knock has kept his team in the game and the value of it will
be proved as the game progresses.
Jayawardena was involved in stands of 52 for the 4h wicket with
Thilan Samaraweer20, 61 for the 5th wicket with Dinesh Chandimal 27 and
62 for the 8th wicket with Rangana Herath 5 which helped swell the
Plane loads of England supporters have descended to watch their team
that is number one in world cricket in action and from early morning
there was a long queue forming to buy tickets.
Even after the first hour's play, supporters were still in the queue,
while the ground looked a picture with the English supporters easily
outnumbering the locals. Those who found the tickets high priced moved
to the ramparts to catch the action.
Mahela Jayawardena back in the captaincy saddle after a long time,won
the all- important toss and decided to bat on a wicket that looked good
for a big total.
England captain Andrew Strauss said that the best way to make amends
for losing the toss was to grab early wickets and put the home side
batting under pressure. And his bowlers did just that.
Patel new Test cap
Samit Patel was making his debut for England who was going in spin
heavy. Patel and Monty Panessar left arm and Graeme Swann off spin.
Jimmy Anderson the England paceman rocked the Sri Lankan batting boat
when he had Lahiru Thirmanne 3 and Kumar Sangakkara for a first ball
duck in the second and third balls of his second over from the Fort end.
Both batsmen prodded not knowing which way the ball was moving and
snicked catches behind at the same score - 11. Thirimanne to Graeme
Swann and Sangakkara to wicket keeper Matt Prior. Anderson was on a
hat-trick. Jayawardena played down the next ball to deprive Anderson of
With the addition of 4 more runs Tillakaratne Dilshan, who these days
seems to be relying more on luck and not attempting to put his head down
and play for team and country, was next out caught in the slips by
Andrew Strauss off Stuart Broad for 11. At 15 for 3 the batting was
Skipper Jayawardena joined by the experienced and always solid Thilan
Samraweera steadied the innings playing sensibly and with great caution
took lunch without further loss at 66 for 3 adding 51 with Jayawardena
on 30 and Samaraweera on 15.
After lunch and for the addition of a run, Samaraweera who was
batting steadily had the misfortune of being run out backing up too
much. Jayawardena drove and Anderson the bowler deflected the ball on to
the wicket in his follow through. The batsman was out for20 with 3
Young Dinesh Chandimal and Jayawardena provided the best batting when
they took on the bowlers who were dominating. They added 61 for the
fifth wicket when Chandimal on 27 with 2 fours and 2 big sixes to mid
wicket mistimed and lofted a drive to Ian Bell to give Patel his first
wicket in Tests. Patel sported that certain smile when congratulated by
his team mates. 128 for 5.
Prasanna Jayawardena joined his skipper and after a bit of
uncertainty early on in his innings settled down and helped put on 40
more runs taking the score to 168 for 5 at tea. The skipper was unbeaten
on 80 and the wicket keeper batsman on 21.
To the credit of England it must be said that even in the oppressive
heat, their bowlers maintained a good over rate sending down 30 in the
first session and 31 in the second.
After tea Sri Lanka lost Prasanna Jayawardena LBW for 23 and Suraj
Randiv run out for 12, Rangana Herath LBW to Patel for 5.Chanaka
Welagedera was unbeaten on 10.
L. Thirimanne c Swann b Anderson 3
T. Dilshan c Strauss b Broad 11
K. Sangakkara c Prior b Anderson 0
M. Jayawardene not out 168
T. Samaraweera run out 20
D. Chandimal c Bell b Patel 27
P. Jayawardene lbw b Anderson 23
S. Randiv run out 12
R. Herath lbw b Pate l5
C. Welegedara not out 10
Extras: (lb6, nb4) 10
Total (for eight wickets, 90 overs) 289
Fall of wickets: 1-11, 2-11, 3-15, 4-67, 5-128, 6-170, 7-191, 8-253.
Bowling: Anderson 17-5-56-3, Broad 18-1-66-1 (nb4), Panesar 23-11-42-0, Swann 23-3-92-0, Patel 9-1-27-2.