Sri Lanka flay New Zealand in first Test

Sri Dharanee Performance Arts Theatre

GALLE, August 18, 2009 (AFP) – Mahela Jayawardene and Tillakaratne Dilshan pulverised New Zealand’s bowlers to help Sri Lanka make a spectacular start in the first cricket Test on Tuesday. Jayawardene hit an unbeaten 108 and Dilshan smashed 92 off 72 balls in his new role as opener as Sri Lanka, sent in to bat under an overcast sky, recovered from 16-2 to 293-3 by stumps on a rain-curtailed opening day.

Jayawardene, who gave up the captaincy earlier this year to concentrate on his batting, compiled his 26th Test century on the easy-paced wicket at the Galle International Stadium.

Dilshan hit the fastest Test half-century by a Sri Lankan off 30 balls, upstaging former captain Arjuna Ranatunga’s 31-ball effort against India at Kanpur in 1986.

Jayawardene put on 118 for the third wicket with Dilshan and 159 for the undefeated fourth with Thilan Samaraweera (82 not out) after New Zealand seamer Chris Martin struck twice in his first two overs.

Martin gave the Test a dramatic start when he had Tharanga Paranavitana, Dilshan’s fellow opener, edging the third ball of the match to wicket-keeper Brendon McCullum.

Martin then removed Kumar Sangakkara for eight, the S