<
>

Scholarly centurion has Sri Lankan victory in his sights

Sri Lanka's scholarly centurion, wicket-keeper batsman Kumar Sangakkara, who scored his second Test century at Galle on Thursday, believes that his side can now make a serious push for victory.

The home team's hopes in the opening Test of this three-Test series looked slim when the West Indies scored 448 in their first innings, but with Sri Lanka ending the day on 343-3 it's all up for grabs.

Sangakkara, who finished the day unbeaten on 126 from 308 balls and has only spent 27 minutes off the field during the first three days play, said afterwards: "We have a target in mind and all we need to do is carry on tomorrow like we have done today."

"Losing Mahela (Jayawardene) was a big disappointment, but that is cricket and we now need to carry on tomorrow. We are looking to win this," he said.

"Murali is going to be more effective in the second innings," he predicted. "He is going to get more turn and bite. We will have to see how the West Indians handle him.

The 24-year-old law student, who crams his studies in between international commitments, added 162 runs in 42.5 overs with Jaywardene for the third wicket, which is a record all-wicket partnership between the two sides.

Jayawardene scored 99 off just 134 balls and Sangakkara praised the efforts of his close friend and colleague.

"There were a few bad balls bowled, but with Mahela (Jayawardene) in the middle you are always going to score quickly as he just doesn't miss any loose balls. It's so easy batting with him as he takes away all the pressure. All I had to do was nudge the ball into the gaps and give him the strike."

The West Indies bowlers had a day to forget as they conceded 27 boundaries and took just two wickets.

"Mervyn Dillon was the best bowler by a long way," Sangakkara said. "He bowled a lot of overs and bowled very well with a nagging line and length. Ramnarine is turning out to be a cunning and wily leg-spinner too, so it is not going to be easy to score quick runs tomorrow."