Sangakkara boosts Sri Lanka with unbeaten 135

Colombo: Kumar Sangakkara hit an impressive 135 not out under pressure to boost Sri Lanka in the second Test against the West Indies on Wednesday.

The skipper hit one six and 16 fours in a 252-ball knock for his 24th Test hundred as Sri Lanka posted 294-5 in their first innings at stumps on the second day.

Prasanna Jayawardene was unbeaten on 12 when play was called off after tea due to rain.

Sangakkara steadied the innings with a record 170-run stand for the fourth wicket with Thilan Samaraweera (80) after three wickets fell for 34 runs on a new pitch on Tuesday`s
opening day.

The stand was the best for the fourth wicket in Sri Lanka-West Indies Tests, surpassing the previous highest of 167 between Chris Gayle and Brendan Nash in the drawn first match of the ongoing three-match series in Galle.

The West Indies, who bowled well in overcast conditions Tuesday, struggled for success as they could take just two wickets in the first two sessions.

Sangakkara and Samaraweera dominated the opening session with their exciting strokeplay, scoring runs comfortably against both pace and spin. The hosts did not lose a wicket in
the morning, adding 115 to their overnight total of 84-3.

Samaraweera looked set to reach his 13th Test century before falling in the afternoon, pulling seamer Dwayne Bravo straight to Shane Shillingford at fine leg after hitting one six and eight fours in his solid 170-ball knock.

The West Indies got a second wicket in the afternoon with the new ball when paceman Kemar Roach had Angelo Mathews (25) caught behind, but not before the batsman had added 69 for the fifth wicket with his captain.

Sangakkara, who made 73 in Galle, completed his century when he drove Bravo through the covers for a single. He offered a chance on 118 when he attempted to pull Bravo, but wicket-keeper Carlton Baugh failed to hold on to the ball.

Samaraweera, 26 overnight, played some handsome shots in the morning, straight-driving and then cutting Bravo for two successive fours before reaching his 25th Test half-century.

The Sri Lankan skipper also batted confidently, once fluently driving Roach through the covers and then cutting firmly for two boundaries in an over.

Sangakkara, 25 overnight, completed his half-century with an attacking shot, pulling seamer Darren Sammy for a four.

The West Indies needed a couple of early wickets to gain the upper hand but none of their bowlers could keep pressure on Samaraweera and Sangakkara.

Off-spinner Shillingford, reported for a suspected illegal bowling action after impressing in the previous Test with five wickets, went wicketless in his 15 overs.

Sangakkara used his feet well against spinners, once lofting Shillingford over long-on for a six and then hitting the spinner over mid-on for a four in the same over.

Bureau Report