Centurion: The experienced Hashan Tillekeratne led a spirited Sri Lankan batting effort on Day I of the second Test against South Africa on Friday.
After being put into bat by South African captain Shaun Pollock, Sri Lanka ended the day on 263 for six, Tillekeratne, on 82, within sight of his 10th Test century and Chaminda Vaas yet to score. The 35 year-old Tillekeratne, playing in his 73rd Test, batted for four hours, facing 181 balls and hitting 15 fours.
The South Africans will rue handing Tillekeratne a life on 35 when Jacques Kallis put down a fast, head high chance at second slip, his captain Pollock the frustrated bowler. Although South Africa could not remove the obdurate left hander, they did dismiss Hasantha Fernando in the penultimate over of the day for 24, Kallis completing the catch at second slip this time off the bowling of Makhaya Ntini.
Tillekeratne’s knock was the cornerstone of a much-improved batting effort from the Islanders, although several of the top order batsmen failed to build on good starts.
One of them was Mahela Jayawardene, who shared in a partnership of 81 for the fourth wicket with Tillekeratne before edging Pollock on to his stumps for 44. Shortly afterwards Russel Arnold continued his miserable series when he was well caught by wicketkeeper Mark Boucher off Kallis for two following his ‘pair’ in the first Test.
Opening batsman Jehan Mubarak, playing in his second Test at the age of 21, fell just two runs short of his maiden fifty shortly after lunch when he was caught by Graeme Smith at first slip to give Pollock his first wicket.
Despite playing in just his second Test, young Mubarak batted with the confidence of a veteran, a model of technique in defence and dismissive of anything loose from the South African bowlers.
Sri Lanka went to lunch on 90 for two after the fall of Kumar Sangakkara, the left hander driving loosely at a delivery from Andrew Hall in the final over of the session. (Reuters)