COLOMBO // Mahela Jayawardene had to play down comparisons to the great Australian Don Bradman yesterday. After Kumar Sangakkara scored a classy 219 and Jayawardene struck 174 as Sri Lanka declared their first innings at 642-4 on day two of the second Test against India. In reaching his hundred, his 28th in Test cricket, Jayawardene recorded his 10th century at the Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC), surpassing Bradman's nine centuries at Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) to become the top Test century-maker at a single ground.
However, the Sri Lankan has appeared in 12 more matches at the Sri Lanka venue than the Australian all-time great played at MCG. Jayawardene made light of the comparison with Bradman. "He's played what 10 Tests at MCG? That's Sir Don for you. I needed 23 Tests. That caps it off," Jayawardene said. "He's a legend. It's a moment for me to remember." As for the current test, Jayawardene made it clear that Sri Lanka's bowlers would be looking for a breakthrough on the third day.
"We know that they have some quality batsmen who can bat for a long time," he said. "We need to make sure that we don't give them too many opportunities. "We need to put in lot of effort. The wicket is still good and we need to be smart about it. We need to first get wickets and then see whether we can get the next 10." Though the declaration came immediately after Jayawardene's dismissal in the final session, there was still time for India to start a determined reply with Virender Sehwag hitting an unbeaten half-century as the visitors reached 95 without loss in 18 overs.
Earlier, Jayawardene became the third batsman in Sri Lanka's first innings to score 100 on a perfect batting pitch at the SSC. Sangakkara's 219 came off 335 balls and included 29 boundaries. He was part of two century partnerships (174 and 193) with Tharanga Paranavitana (100) and Jayawardene before being caught by Rahul Dravid in the slips off Sehwag soon after the lunch break. Sangakkara's seventh double-century has put him equal in third place with England's Wally Hammond for the most 200s, behind the West Indies' Brian Lara (eight) and Bradman (12).
Thilan Samaraweera was unbeaten on 76 when Sri Lanka declared in their first innings. Pragyan Ojha, the Indian spinner, was upbeat about his team's chances. "It's a very good wicket," he said. "You have seen it for the last two days. Once you're set, you can just bat on. These guys [the Sri Lankan batsmen] have showed that as long as you can avoid silly mistakes, you're going to get a good score. "The way things are going, I don't think our batsmen will have any problem," Ojha added. "The wicket is rock-solid, and I just hope that our guys bat on and on."
Sehwag returned bowling figures 1-71 while fellow spinners Ojha, Harbhajan Singh and seamer Ishant Sharma also captured a wicket each. Sehwag was more effective with the bat, rattling up 64 off 63 balls and hitting 12 boundaries during India's reply. Murali Vijay, who came in as a replacement for the injured regular opener Gautam Gambhir, was 22 not out. Ojha said bowling was a struggle on the SSC pitch. "There wasn't much turn for me," Ojha told cricinfo.com. "It was coming on to the bat with the new ball and the old ball wasn't doing much. "As a bowler, especially as a spinner, all you can do is to do the basics right, keep it tight and just make the batsmen struggle for each and every run. They shouldn't [be allowed to] get it easily." * AP
India 1st Innings Murali Vijay not out 22 Virender Sehwag not out 64 Extras: (7nb, 2w) 9 TOTAL: (without loss) 95 Overs: 18. Batting time: 95 minutes. Still to bat: Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Abhimanyu Mithun, Harbhajan Singh, Ishant Sharma, Pragyan Ojha. Bowling: Dammika Prasad 3-0-27-0 (3nb), Dilhara Fernando 7-0-31-0 (4nb, 1w), Angelo Mathews 4-0-13-0 (1w), Suraj Randiv 3-1-15-0, Ajantha Mendis 1-0-9-0. Sri Lanka 1st Innings (Overnight 312 for two) Tharanga Paranavitana b Sharma 100 Tillakaratne Dilshan c Laxman b Ojha 54 Kumar Sangakkara c Dravid b Sehwag 219 Mahela Jayawardene c Raina b Harbhajan 174 Thilan Samaraweera not out 76 Extras: (4b, 8lb, 5nb, 2w) 19 TOTAL: (for 4 wickets declared) 642 Overs: 159.4. Batting time: 635 minutes. Fall of wickets: 1-99, 2-273, 3-466, 4-642. Did not bat: Angelo Mathews, Prasanna Jayawardene, Dammika Prasad, Dilhara Fernando, Suraj Randiv, Ajantha Mendis. Bowling: Abhimanyu Mithun 23-5-117-0, Ishant Sharma 23-5-102-1 (3nb), Pragyan Ojha 46-9-172-1 (2nb), Harbhajan Singh 42.4-4-147-1 (2w), Virender Sehwag 20-0-71-1, Suresh Raina 5-0-21-0. Umpires: Daryl Harper and Rod Tucker, Australia. TV Umpire: Ranmore Martinesz, Sri Lanka. Match Referee: Andy Pycroft, Zimbabwe. Toss: won by Sri Lanka. Series: Sri Lanka leads three-match series 1-0.