Colombo – Mahela Jayawardene was dismissed for 54 in his last Test innings as Pakistan kept themselves in the hunt to force a series-levelling win in the second Test against Sri Lanka in Colombo on Sunday.
Off-spinner Saeed Ajmal grabbed three wickets in the morning session of the fourth day’s play to leave Sri Lanka on 234-5 in their second innings, a lead of 222 runs with five wickets in hand.
The overnight pair of Jayawardene and his long-time team-mate Kumar Sangakkara, batting together for the last time in a Test match, took their partnership to 107 after Sri Lanka resumed at 177-2.
But both batsmen fell to Ajmal within three runs of each other as the hosts slipped to 189-4 within 30 minutes of the start of the day’s play.
Ajmal had left-handed Sangakkara caught at silly point by Azhar Ali for 59 and then removed Jayawardene in his next over after the batsman had added five runs to his overnight score of 49.
Jayawardene mistimed a lofted shot to mid-wicket where Ahmed Shehzad took a low tumbling catch to the dismay of some 3,000 home fans at the Sinhalese Sports Club.
One run earlier, Jayawardene had survived an appeal for a catch off Wahab Riaz after replays showed the ball touch the ground before landing in wicket-keeper Sarfraz Ahmed’s gloves.
The Pakistani fielders applauded as the crowd gave the departing Jayawardene a standing ovation. The batsmen raised his bat to acknowledge the cheers before walking off.
The 149-Test veteran finished with 11,814 runs at an average of 49.84 with 34 centuries and 50 half-centuries.
Having begun his last Test with an average of 50.02, Jayawardene saw it drop after being dismissed for four and 54 in the match.
His 2 921 runs in 27 Tests at the SSC are the most by any batsman at a single ground. He averaged 74.89 at the SSC with 11 centuries.
Jayawardene is one of only five batsmen to score more than 11 000 runs in both Test and one-day cricket – the others being Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting, Jacques Kallis and team-mate Kumar Sangakkara.
Having retired from Twenty20 internationals after Sri Lanka’s title-winning campaign in the World T20 in April, Jayawardene will now play only one-day cricket heading into next year’s World Cup Down Under.
Ajmal also bowled Lahiru Thirimanne for 10. Skipper Angelo Mathews was unbeaten on 24 and Niroshan Dickwella was on 13.
Pakistan were once again without left-arm seamer Junaid Khan, who was hit on the helmet by a rising ball from Dhammika Prasad and was kept under observation at a hospital for a few hours.
Team manager Moin Khan said Junaid will be unable to bowl in the match, but may bat if needed. – Sapa-AFP