COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - Kumar Sangakkara scored a half-century and shared an unbroken 98-run third wicket stand with Mahela Jayawardene to give Sri Lanka a strong 165-run lead against Pakistan in the second test.
Sri Lanka reached 177-2 in its second innings at stumps on day three Saturday after Rangana Herath earlier took 9-127.
Sangakkara, unbeaten on 54, became the fifth highest test run scorer — surpassing the total of 11,953 from West Indies great Brian Lara. Sangakkara reached the feat in his 128th test.
Players ahead of him are India's Sachin Tendulkar, Australia's Ricky Ponting, South Africa's Jacques Kallis and India's Rahul Dravid, all of whom have retired.
Sangakkara faced 121 deliveries and hit four boundaries and Jayawardene was unbeaten on 49, playing his final test innings.
Herath snared an extraordinary nine wickets to end Pakistan's first innings for 332 in reply to Sri Lanka's 320. Herath became only the second Sri Lankan to take nine wickets in an innings after Muttiah Muralitharan — and the first of any nationality to do so since 'Murali' in 2002. Herath on Friday went past his 250th test wicket, playing in his 57th match.
Sri Lanka coach Marvan Atapattu praised Herath's achievement.
"His greatest strength is being accurate. We always tend to compare somebody, a spinner with Muralitharan ... I don't think that is fair by anybody. He (Muralitharan) is a freak, he's a genius," Atapattu said.
"This guy (Herath) has different strengths ... to get 50 wickets in a year, to get five-fors 20 times, 16 of them coming after Muralitharan's retirement is a hell of an achievement."
Atapattu said Sri Lanka will bat until it feels that the pitch has deteriorated enough to help the spinners.
"There is a lot of cricket to be played, test cricket can change very quickly," he warned.
Pakistan's left-arm spinner Abdul Rehman dismissed both Sri Lankan openers and ended the day with 2-65. Opening from one end in the absence of seamer Junaid Khan, Rehman bowled Upul Tharanga for 45 and Younis Khan took a low slip catch to dismiss Kaushal Silva (17).
Junaid Khan was hit on the head by a delivery from Dhammika Prasad while batting and was taken to the hospital for precautionary tests, the Pakistan team said.
Silva's departure saw Jayawardene walk in to bat for the last time in tests with the crowd on their feet applauding and chanting "Mahela! Mahela!"
Pakistan batting coach Grant Flower said his team was capable of chasing 300 in the second innings.
"He (Herath) is a world class bowler and bowled very well and he's the main difference in both teams ... Everyone knows that the guys struggled a bit but hope to get things right in the second innings."
Pakistan was bowled out just before lunch, with No. 7 Sarfraz Ahmed scoring a maiden test century — 103 off 157 balls.
Coming in to bat when Pakistan had lost three quick wickets to be struggling at 140-5, Ahmed stabilized the innings with a 93-run sixth-wicket partnership with Asad Shafiq (42).
Pakistan resumed the third day at 244-6 and lost its first wicket for the day when Rehman (16) was caught at slip by Jayawardene off Herath. Wahab Riaz made 17 before sweeping Herath to long-leg for a catch to Chanaka Welegedara.
Ahmed reached his century in authoritative fashion. He advanced up the pitch to pull a delivery from fast-medium bowler Welegedara for a four to reach 94 and the next ball he repeated the shot for a six over deep square leg to reach his century.
Ahmed edged Herath's delivery to give wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella his fifth catch of the innings. With this wicket Herath went past his previous best bowling of 7-89 recorded against Bangladesh last year.
Herath bowled out Saeed Ajmal to finish Pakistan's innings.
Sri Lanka made 320 in its first innings with opener Upul Tharanga scoring 92. Pakistan fast bowler Junaid Khan picked up five wickets.
Sri Lanka won the first test by seven wickets.
© Coast Reporter