Sharjah: Kumar Sangakkara notched his 27th Test hundred to propel Sri Lanka to an imperious 245-2 on the opening day of the third and final cricket Test against Pakistan on Thursday.
The 34-year-old stylish left-hander ended the day on 112 -- his second hundred of the series after hitting 211 in the first Test, guiding his team during a 173-run second wicket stand with Tillakaratne Dilshan who made 92.
That repair-damaging stand followed the early loss of opener Tharanga Paranavitana (four) who fell off paceman Umar Gul`s fifth ball of the match after Sri Lanka decided to bat on a batting-friendly Sharjah stadium pitch.
Sangakkara, who topscored with 78 during Sri Lanka`s nine wicket defeat in the second Test in Dubai, also completed 9,000 Test runs when he reached 28, hitting a crisp boundary off paceman Junaid Khan.
The former Sri Lankan captain is the 11th batsman in the world and only the second Sri Lankan behind Mahela Jayawardene (9895 runs) to cross 9,000 or more in all Test cricket.
He jumped out of his crease to lift left-arm spinner Abdul Rehman for his second six to reach the three-figure mark -- his seventh against Pakistan -- to show why he is currently regarded as the top batsmen in the world.
He has so far hit 11 boundaries during his near six-hour stay at the crease. Partnering him was Mahela Jayawardene on 32.
Dilshan, who had 38 runs in the last four innings, realised he belonged to the top of the order as he shrugged away the poor form, hitting 12 boundaries and a six during his 168-ball knock.
Pakistan lead the series 1-0 after winning the second Test in Dubai by nine wickets. The first Test in Abu Dhabi ended in a draw.
Dilshan`s elevation to the top meant opener Lahiru Thirimanne was axed while paceman Suranga Lakmal was also left out to bring in off-spinner Suraj Randiv and 26-year-old paceman Kosala Kulasekara for his first Test.
Pakistan were unchanged from the second Test. The change at the top did not help Sri Lanka to a flying start as Paranavitana edged the fifth ball of the innings from Gul and was smartly snapped up by Younis Khan in the slips, with the score at four.
Two balls before his dismissal, Paranavitana was dropped at forward short-leg by Azhar Ali, but the opener failed to capitalise on the chance.
Pakistan introduced spin at both ends after 10 overs, but the batsmen remained untroubled.
Dilshan survived an easy catch off a short ball from Gul, which seemed to have hit the glove, but Indian umpire Shahvir Tarapore remained unmoved.
Pakistan also muffed a chance to stump Sangakkar, batting on 68, when the wicket-keeper missed a sharp Saeed Ajmal delivery.
But in the seventh over after tea, Dilshan miscued a drive off spinner Ajmal and was caught in the lone slip by Younis. Pakistan took the second new ball after 82 overs, but Sangakkara and Jayawardene survived any further loss.