Mahela Jayawardene shrugged off three stitches in his hand with a defiant 32nd test century and led Sri Lanka to a commanding 318—4 in the second test against Pakistan on Thursday.
Jayawardene was unbeaten on 106 off 230 balls with 12 fours in nearly 5-and-a-half hours while his club-mate and opening batsman Kaushal Silva (95) narrowly missed out on a maiden century to give Sri Lanka a lead of 153 on day two after Pakistan was bowled out for 165.
Jayawardene needed three stitches between his third and fourth fingers on his left hand after attempting a catch on Wednesday, but was unruffled by the pain as he put on 139 runs with Silva.
“Every time I didn’t time the ball well ... I was getting a lot of pain so my target was to time the ball every time so to stay away from getting that irritation,” Jayawardene said of his marathon effort.
Pakistan struck twice inside the first hour and denied Silva a century when offspinner Mohammad Hafeez had him lbw after the Sri Lanka opener faced 220 balls and hit 10 fours and matched the timing of Jayawardene at the crease.
Captain Angelo Mathews frustrated Pakistan more by adding 91 runs with Jayawardene and was unbeaten on 42 at stumps.
“Every hundred I’ve scored is something special to me because I am contributing to the team cause, as long as this hundred helps us to win the test match that would be brilliant,” Jayawardene said.
Jayawardene was out for 5 and 0 off Bilawal Bhatti in the first drawn test, but came back strongly when he raised his century off 215 balls with 12 boundaries by cutting the same bowler to third man boundary.
Pakistan could have to pay heavily for letting Mathews off the hook on 6 as wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed dropped a sitter in Rahat Ali’s first over with the second new ball. Mathews scored 91 and a match-saving unbeaten 157 in the drawn first test.
Pakistan’s twin success came in the first session when Kumar Sangakkara (26) and Dinesh Chandimal (12) fell to poor shot selection before Silva and Jayawardene guided them to 215—3 by tea.
Several times, Jayawardene pulled his hand off the bat while facing short deliveries, but it didn’t deter the confidence of Sri Lanka’s most accomplished test batsman.
“I had some injections initially yesterday but I was given a bit of ointment which is a bit of a painkiller itself, plus lots of panadol,” Jayawardene said.
Silva also notched his second successive fifty in the series soon after lunch off 133 balls with five fours when he pulled Saeed Ajmal to midwicket boundary.
Jayawardene successfully overturned Bruce Oxenford’s leg before wicket decision on 26 when he was ruled out by the umpire. But the TV replays clearly suggested Ali’s ball had pitched outside the line of leg stump.
Silva wiped out Pakistan’s first-innings score when he cut Ali to point boundary before elegantly driving the leftarm fast bowler through the covers in the same over.
Silva’s magnificent knock was ended when he misjudged a sweep and was trapped leg before wicket by Hafeez soon after tea before Mathews and Jayawardene further frustrated Pakistan.
“The little guy is batting very well,” Jayawardene said of Silva. “I think today’s knock is as good as a hundred ... I’m sure once he get one, he will get more for us.”
After Sri Lanka resumed at 57—1, Ali (1—109) got his first success of the series by having Sangakkara lbw and Chandimal threw away his wicket by needlessly pulling a delivery from Junaid Khan (2—75).
Ali bowled 55 wicketless overs in the drawn first test last week and had to wait for another 14 overs before Sangakkara played him across the line and was out plumb lbw in the sixth over of the day.
Chandimal, who featured in a match-saving century stand with Mathews at Abu Dhabi, started confidently but lost concentration and holed out to Ali at deep fine leg off Khan’s short pitched delivery.