Mahela keeps Sri Lanka standing at Galle
Sri Lankan skipper Mahela Jayawardene defied the English bowling attack for almost an entire day to take them to 289/8 at Stumps on Day 1 of the first Test at the picturesque Galle International Stadium.
In their second major series as the World’s no.1 side in Tests, England made a good start by removing Lahiru Thirimanne (3), Royal Challengers Bangalore allrounder Tillakaratne Dilshan (11) and Kumar Sangakkara for a golden duck to leave them at 15/3 in just 3.5 overs.
Jayawardene however stuck around, stitching partnerships with the middle order even as England’s three spinners, Graeme Swann, Monty Panesar and debutant Samit Patel came into the attack. The first two went wicketless while Patel was gifted wickets by rash shots but none could threaten Jayawardene.
James Anderson ended the day with figures of 3/56 and the lucky run out of Thilan Samaraweera (20), run out when a straight drive from Mahela brushed Anderson’s fingers on the way to the stumps at the non striker’s end with Samaraweera fatally backing up too far.
Mahela however was the undisputed champion of the day, posting his 30th Test hundred and masterfully farming strike with the tail to end the day on 168* and taking Sri Lanka to 289/8, a strong first innings score on a track that notoriously grows harder to bat on with spinners turning the ball square as early as Tea on Day 2.