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Mahela Jayawardene continues dream run at SSC

Mahela Jayawardene added to India's agony with a century AFP

It was another day of toil for the Indian bowlers as Sri Lanka reached a seemingly invincible position in the second Test. Two players who form the backbone of their batting line-up, Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene, achieved individual landmarks on a placid track against a spineless attack that has left its batsmen with another Test to save, though in much more favourable conditions.

Jayawardene's knock lacked the imperious demeanour of his captain's. It was built - especially after Sangakkara's dismissal - on steady accumulation and calculated strokeplay. With Thilan Samaraweera capitalising on the width provided by the spinners to find boundaries frequently through the off side, he tempered down, opting to nudge the ball around for singles and reserve his strength solely for the bad balls. When Harbhajan Singh bowled short and wide, he forced him through the covers and when gifted with full delivery on the pads, he swept it past fine leg.

It was such a sweep that brought him his tenth century at the SSC - the most by a player at a venue, surpassing Don Bradman's staggering nine tons in ten games at the MCG. Once that landmark was achieved, he stepped up with a couple of delightful inside-out drives over extra cover and a huge six wide of midwicket while Samaraweera eased to another half-century.

Such was India's helplessness that their most experienced bowler, Harbhajan, had to resort to bowling down the leg side to contain the batsmen. Pragyan Ojha followed suit but with their expertise playing the sweep and the ease with which they made room to execute the cuts, the batsmen were in complete control. In the end, it was Jayawardene's tired chip to midwicket that prompted a declaration, put a rest to India's suffering and gave Harbhajan his first wicket in the series, after conceding 245 runs and bowling 449 deliveries.