Jayawardene hands Lanka advantage
by CricketArchive Staff Reporter
DateLine: 18th August 2009
A day that began with New Zealand in control ended with Sri Lanka seizing the control and the momentum back from the visitors. The two main stars of the day were former captain Mahela Jayawardene and the make-shift opener Dilshan as Sri Lanka pulverised the New Zealand bowling attack into submission. The home team recovered from a shaky 16 for 2 to 293 for 3 by stumps on a rain-curtailed opening day.
Dilshan hit the fastest Test half-century by a Sri Lankan off 30 balls, upstaging former captain Arjuna Ranatunga's 31-ball effort against India at Kanpur in 1986.
Play was delayed for 90 minutes after early morning rain - and when the match did get underway the tourists struck first. The Sri Lankans had been rocked by the loss of two early wickets - however Jayawardene finished on an unbeaten 108, his 26th Test century, as he turned the game around.
Chris Martin found early movement from the off and removed opener Tharanga Paranavitana for a duck with just his third delivery - with Brendon McCullum taking the catch behind the stumps.
Martin struck again as he removed Kumar Sangakkara for eight, with the Sri Lanka captain chipping the ball to Daniel Flynn at mid-wicket and that brought together Dilshan and Jayawardene to the crease.
Iain O'Brien clubbed out of the attack after conceding 40 runs from four overs.
Dilshan needed just 30 balls to bring up his half-century - and looked good to reach three figures. However his 72-ball knock was brought to an end when he dragged a wide delivery from O'Brien onto his stumps just after lunch.
Jayawardene, who hit 14 boundaries, offered New Zealand just one chance, but his edge flew safely through the slip cordon. Jayawardene reached his third century against New Zealand and the fifth at Galle when he pulled O'Brien to the square-leg fence for his 13th boundary.