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February 21, 2009
It was a perfect way for Mahela Jayawardene to begin his final series as captain of Sri Lanka. He went past 8000 Test runs during the course of his 25th century - his first against Pakistan - on the opening day of the Karachi Test and also became the tenth batsman to have scored centuries against all the Test-playing nations.
Jayawardene's unbeaten 136 off 239 balls came after a string of poor scores in one-day internationals, a format in which he's managed only one half-century from his last 17 innings. However, he felt that his ODI form was not as bad as it was made out to be.
"I've always thought that my one-day form has been good," Jayawardene said. "It's just the execution and the gameplan that hasn't been there, and that's something I need to work on. I've been hitting the ball pretty good in one-day cricket, but it's just that I need to spend more time out there.
"When you're given the opportunity to bat for long periods, it's much easier to execute a gameplan in Test cricket. I'm quite happy with the effort today."
Jayawardene played a vital part in an unbroken 229-run stand for the fourth wicket with Thilan Samaraweera, who also remained unbeaten on 130. Together, they were the driving force behind Sri Lanka reaching 406 for 3 by stumps. Jayawardene, however, felt that Sri Lanka's bowlers would fare better than Pakistan's did.
"The pitch is slowing down and it's tough work for the fast bowlers," he said. "But I think you can still make use of it by bowling a lot of variations and deceiving the batsmen. I'm sure our guys are looking forward to bowling on this pitch.
"It is going to be tough but we have a job to finish. We have to bat well, get a good score on board and then give the spinners an opportunity to attack them."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.