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Jayawardene lifts hosts before England strike

Mahela Jayawardene was on the brink of setting a Sri Lankan Test century record in helping the hosts reach 287 for six at tea on the second day of the third and final Test against England on Wednesday.

Resuming on 147-4, Sri Lanka added a further 140 runs under overcast skies before England picked up two wickets in the final over of the session to haul themselves back into the contest.

After tea, the Sri Lankan skipper needs one more run for his 21st century — a milestone that will surpass Aravinda de Silva’s 20 Test hundreds — having batted for 264 deliveries with nine boundaries in his 99.

The 30-year-old added 149 with Dilshan, a record fifth-wicket stand for Sri Lanka in Galle.

The partnership was only broken by a run out minutes before the interval as Dilshan called for a quick single in an effort to help Jayawardene reach his century.

Alastair Cook hit the stumps with an underarm flick running in from gully and Dilshan was adjudged run out for 84 by the television umpire Asoka de Silva.

England’s morale was immediately boosted further with the quick fall of wicketkeeper Prasanna Jayawardene, who nicked an outswinger from Ravi Bopara.

England’s fast bowlers all bowled well, maintaining a more consistent line and length than during the first morning but were left ruing missed opportunities.

Dilshan, on seven, slashed a chance to Cook in the gully that was dropped in the second over of the day and Matthew Prior missed a difficult low chance off Jayawardene late in the session when the Sri Lanka captain had made 66.

In the afternoon, Dilshan was dropped again by Prior on 54, the wicketkeeper diving in front of first slip.

Dilshan’s good fortune continued with a reprieve on 64 when the umpire failed to see him glove a delivery from Matthew Hoggard down the leg-side.

Sri Lanka lead the series 1-0 after winning the first Test by 88 runs. – Reuters

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