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Jayawardene hits 21st century

Galle: Captain Mahela Jayawardene scored a record 21st Test century for Sri Lanka on Wednesday to help the hosts reach 384 for six at the close of Day II of the third and final Test against England.

Jayawardene, 30, batted throughout the second day in difficult batting conditions to finish with a marathon eight-hour 149 from 351 deliveries, surpassing Aravinda de Silva’s 20 hundreds.

It was his second consecutive century of the series after scoring 195 in Colombo.

Jayawardene described his 21st century as one of his best innings in his 10-year career. “It’s one of the best knocks I’ve played,” he said. “It was not easy batting on that wicket. There is a lot of bounce and movement for the bowlers so I had to be patient.

“We were under pressure after losing four wickets and I had to build a couple of partnerships. I was pleased with my concentration and also my shot selection, two areas I have improved on a lot this series.

Jayawardene added 149 with Tillekeratne Dilshan, a record fifth-wicket stand for Sri Lanka in Galle, and a further 97 with Chaminda Vaas, who finished the day on 46.

England’s bowlers toiled without reward throughout the morning before a double-strike just before tea lifted their spirits in a game they must win to level the series.

The Jayawardene-Dilshan stand was broken by a run out as Dilshan called for a quick single in an effort to help Jayawardene reach his century minutes before the break.

Alastair Cook hit the stumps with an underarm flick running in from gully and Dilshan was adjudged run out for 84 by the television umpire Asoka de Silva.

England’s morale was immediately boosted further with the quick fall of wicketkeeper Prasanna Jayawardene, who nicked an outswinger from medium-pacer Ravi Bopara.

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