Sri Lanka’s Sangakkara, Samaraweera defy Pakistan

LAHORE, March 1, 2009 (AFP) – Kumar Sangakkara and Thilan Samaraweera notched brilliant hundreds to help Sri Lanka recover from early wobbles on the opening day of the second Test against Pakistan here Sunday. Samaraweera followed his 231 in the drawn first Test in Karachi with a superb unbeaten 133 while Sangakkara scored 104 as the tourists recovered from 35-2 to reach 317-4 after Pakistan won the toss and put their opponents in.

Pakistan had exploited the early life from a green-looking Gaddafi Stadium pitch by removing openers Malinda Warnapura (eight) and Tharanga Paranavitana (21) and then had the prized scalp of skipper Mahela Jayawardene (30).

But left-hander Sangakkara and Samaraweera settled down gradually and benefited from some sloppy work by Pakistan fielders who dropped two crucial catches — one off each batsman.

For Pakistan, pace spearhead Umar Gul (3-67) provided breakthroughs but the Sangakkara-Samaraweera pairing foiled all the home team’s attempts until their 204-run stand for the fourth wicket was broken with the second new ball.

Sangakkara snicked to wicket-keeper Kamran Akmal in Yasir Arafat’s second over with the new ball. Sangakkara hit eight boundaries during