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471 and still counting
- Double centurions Sangakkara, Jayawardene in massive stand

Colombo: Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene batted throughout the day to record unbeaten double hundreds and put Sri Lanka in total control of the first Test against South Africa on Friday.

At the close of the Day II the pair, who came together with the total on 14 for two in reply to South Africa’s 169 on Thursday, had taken the total to 485 for two.

Captain Jayawardene was on 224 and Sangakkara had scored 229 in an unbroken third-wicket partnership of 471.

The stand was the highest for any wicket against South Africa, surpassing the 385 scored by Steve Waugh and Greg Blewett at Johannesburg in 1997, as well the second highest partnership in the history of Test cricket.

The only larger partnership is the 576 scored by teammates Sanath Jayasuriya and Roshan Mahanama against India at Premadasa International Stadium back in 1997, the match where Jayawardene made his debut.

The hosts, who resumed on 128 for two, have now stretched their lead to 316 runs and, with eight wickets still intact and three days still to go, have established a virtually impregnable position from which to force a victory.

Sangakkara, dropped in the gully and bowled off a no ball before reaching double figures, was the more aggressive of the pair during the morning session and reached his 10th Test hundred just before lunch and his fourth double hundred during the final session.

The 28-year-old left-hander, relieved of his wicketkeeping responsibilities for this match, had stroked 31 stylish boundaries from 307 balls at the Sinhalese Sports Club ground.

Jayawardene, Sri Lanka’s captain in the absence of the injured Maravan Atapattu, provided rock-solid support with a flawless and elegant 15th Test hundred that was then converted into his third double hundred with a six over mid-wicket.

The 29-year-old right-hander finished the day struck 27 fours and one six from 356 deliveries.

“We did know anything about the records and just tried to bat session by session to keep South Africa down,” Jayawardene said.

The closest the tourists came to making a breakthrough was off the final over of the day when a thin edge off left-arm spinner Nicky Boje just evaded the gloves of wicketkeeper Mark Boucher.

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