Jayawardene emulates Bradman to put SLanka on top

Published: Thursday, July 24, 2008, 22:31 [IST]
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Mahela Jayawardene equalled former Australian legend Don Bradman's record of nine centuries at one venue to put Sri Lanka in a commanding position in the opening Test against India here on Thursday.

Skipper Jayawardene cracked a stylish 136 to help his side post 422-4 in the first innings at stumps on the second day.

The Sri Lankan captain's ton at the Sinhalese Sports Club ground equalled Bradman's nine at one venue -- the Australian great's coming at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

But Jayawardene was not the lone batsman to feast on the Indian bowling on a placid track as opener Malinda Warnapura (115) and Thilan Samaraweera (111 not out) also contributed handsomely to their team's total.

Tillakaratne Dilshan was unbeaten on 20 after earning a reprieve under a new experimental rule allowing players to seek a second opinion on umpiring decisions.

He was on one when given out caught behind off left-arm fast bowler Zaheer Khan by umpire Mark Benson of England, but asked the official to review the decision.

Benson consulted TV umpire Rudi Koertzen of South Africa before changing his decision as the ball had not made contact with the bat.

Jayawardene earlier added 155 for the third wicket with Warnapura and 148 for the next with Samaraweera to put his team on course for a big total. He hit one six and 10 fours in his 23rd hundred in 96 Tests.

Left-hander Warnapura, 50 overnight, smashed 14 fours in his second Test century in five matches.

India's seamers and spinners failed to put pressure on Jayawardene, Warnapura and Samaraweera, who were quick to punish errors in line and length during their knocks.

The visitors took just two wickets in the day after the hosts resumed at 85-2, with off-spinner Harbhajan Singh and fast bowler Ishant Sharma the successful bowlers.

Harbhajan struck in the afternoon when he had Warnapura caught by former captain Rahul Dravid in the slips, but not before the batsman had strengthened the team's position.

There was no respite for India as Samaraweera also gathered runs comfortably against the Indian attack, having so far struck 16 fours in his seventh Test hundred.

India were also let down by wicket-keeper Dinesh Karthik, who dropped Jayawardene on 55 and 93 off leg-spinner Anil Kumble.

The lapses proved costly as the Sri Lankan captain, 16 overnight, continued to dominate the Indian attack. He reached his hundred just before the tea-break when he turned Kumble to mid-on for a single.

Jayawardene fell in the closing session when he was caught behind off Sharma, bowling with the second new ball.

Warnapura, nephew of Sri Lanka's first Test captain Bandula Warnapura, completed his hundred with an aggressive shot when he cut Sharma for his 13th four.

The opener survived a leg-before appeal off Harbhajan when on 86 after India captain Kumble asked Benson to review the initial not-out decision. The official consulted the TV umpire and was proved right.

India's second leg-before appeal -- this time against Dilshan off Harbhajan -- was also unsuccessful. The umpire again was Benson.

The rule is on trial in the current three-Test series. A batsman or fielding captain can request a review of any decision by referring it to the third official monitoring television replays.

Each team is allowed three unsuccessful review requests per innings but if one is successful they will get an additional appeal.

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