Pakistani promises to spoil the party on Mahela Jayawardene’s final five-day appearance came to fruition as he was dismissed for just four in the first innings of the Second Test in Colombo.
The 37-year-old – playing his penultimate innings – was trapped LBW by Saeed Ajmal as the hosts reached stumps on day one at 261-8, possibly ruing their decision to bat first.
While Ajmal claimed the prized scalp of Jayawardene, it was the seam bowlers, Junaid Khan (4-69) and Wahab Riaz (3-66), who did the most damage as Pakistan strive to level the two-match series.
Prior to the start of play
Sri Lanka won the First Test by the skin of their teeth. It seemed as though a greater power was smiling down upon Jayawardene in Galle, as the rain held off just long enough for Angelo Mathews to knock off the winning runs.
The heavens surely opened as the Sri Lankan captain made his way from the field, ready to celebrate with former skipper, Jayawardene, and the rest of his teammates.
Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq called upon his side to bounce back from defeat to draw the series, and his players certainly heeded his cry on the opening, rushing through the Sri Lankan middle order.
Before the Second Test, the touring skipper said: “Every game is a new game, regardless of what happened in the previous game, so we are looking forward to win this one to level the series and spoil Mahela’s party.”
Solid Sri Lankan start
Winning the toss and opting to bat initially seemed like an inspired decision by Mathews, as openers, Upul Tharanga and Kaushal Silva, laid the hosts a strong foundation from which to build their innings at the top of the order.
Silva (41) was the first to fall, before Kumar Sangakkara came to the crease to try and build a partnership with Tharanga. The world number one batsman couldn’t replicate the double hundred he made in Galle as he was bowled by Riaz for 22.
The fall of Sangakkara prompted the highly anticipated arrival of Jayawardene at the crease.
Farewell to a great nears
The fielding side formed a guard of honour as the right-hander strode to the crease for the penultimate time in Test cricket.
His 251st innings in the purest form of the game wasn’t to last though. Just 16 balls were faced, and the procurer of 34 Test centuries was dropped by Sarfraz Ahmed before his eventual demise.
Ajmal found some turn that managed to trap Jayawardene LBW. The veteran turned down the opportunity to review the decision and trundled from the field.
When he comes out to bat for the second innings, the great batsman requires another 133 runs to take him to 3000 scored in Tests at Colombo – his favourite ground.
Pakistan seize initiative
Having removed both Sangakkara and Jayawardene cheaply, the tourists moved further into the ascendency in the evening session. Five wickets – including Tharanga for 92 – left Sri Lanka reeling on 261-8 at the close of play.
The loss of Angelo Mathews (39) on what transpired to be the final ball of the day could signal an end to any threat that the hosts can pose when play resumes tomorrow.
Sri Lanka currently hold a 1-0 in the two-match series, but Pakistan will be very pleased with the start they have made to the Second Test.
For Jayawardene, he has one last opportunity to leave his mark on the longer format of the game, something that he has been doing for the last 17 years.