Sri Lanka 238-6 vs. England
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By KRISHAN FRANCIS
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) Captain Mahela Jayawardene scored his second century in consecutive tests as Sri Lanka recovered from an early slump to reach 238-6 against England at stumps on the opening day of the second cricket test on Tuesday.
Jayawardene made 105 off 216 balls, hitting a six and 11 boundaries before being out lbw to offspin bowler Graeme Swann.
He made a fighting 180 in the first innings of the first test which Sri Lanka won by 75 runs in Galle.
Jayawardene's 124-run partnership for the fourth wicket with Thilan Samaraweera (54) helped Sri Lanka recover from a precarious 30-3 after England seam bowler James Anderson (3-52) rattled the top order to give the tourists a promising start.
Coming into bat under pressure when Sri Lanka had lost two successive wickets to Anderson in the fifth over, Jayawardene skillfully handled the early movement on the P. Sara Oval pitch before launching his usual elegant strokes as the pitch flattened out.
It left the test evenly poised after the first day, with Sri Lanka hoping Anjelo Mathews can push on from his unbeaten 41 with support. Suraj Randiv was with him on 5 not out.
Samaraweera said the team lost one more wicket than it wanted but was satisfied with the score and looking for a first-innings total of about 300.
"I think, we recovered well after being three for 30," he said.
"This is not the normal Oval wicket. The wicket is very dry and (has) uneven bounce," he said. "I think, after tomorrow's play, day three, it will be difficult to bat on this wicket."
Anderson could have made Jayawardene his fourth wicket, but the skipper was dropped on 79 by England counterpart Andrew Strauss in the slips. Jayawardene went on to his 31st century, eighth most in test history, and eighth against England.
Samaraweera faced 129 balls and hit five boundaries.
England seamer Steven Finn said he was happy with his team's bowling effort despite Jayawardene's century.
"Jayawardene obviously played very, very well; assessed the conditions excellently," Finn said. "I thought we, as a bowling unit, bowled good all day. Tomorrow morning, the first session is going to be very important.
"(We're) frustrated we couldn't get him (Jayawardene) out earlier. He scored a century but he didn't take the game away from us. To keep them to two and half (runs) an over throughout the day, I think, is a very good effort."
After Sri Lanka won the toss and opted to bat, Anderson dismissed openers Tillakaratne Dilshan (14), Lahiru Thirimanne (8) and Kumar Sangakkara for a first-ball duck for the second time in three innings.
He first struck in the fifth over, Dilshan edging an outswinger to wicketkeeper Matt Prior. Next ball, Anderson had Sangakkara caught at slip by Strauss.
Left-handed Thirimanne chose to not play at an inswinger and was trapped lbw. His review was unsuccessful.
England must win the match to avoid a series defeat and lose its No. 1 ranking in test cricket to South Africa.
Updated April 3, 2012