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Sangakkara guides Sri Lanka to a draw

SRI Lanka pulled out of its world record fourth innings run chase, instead settling for a draw against Pakistan in the third test ending yesterday and a 2-0 series win.

Captain Kumar Sangakkara scored a patient century to put his team within striking distance of the ambitious 492-run target, needing 154 runs in the final session.

But as the required run rate climbed, he and Anjelo Mathews elected not to pursue the target and risk defeat, so the captains agreed to call off the match with Sri Lanka on 391-4 with 15 overs remaining.

A draw was a creditable result for Sri Lanka given Pakistan started the day positioned to push for victory, with the hosts on 183-3. However the tourists took just one wicket on day five, coming up against a stubborn Sangakkara, who finished unbeaten on 130, his 19th test hundred.

"We weren't really thinking too much about going for totals," Sangakkara said. "If you bat trying to save a game, you really can't go negative. That plays into the opposition's hands. We tried to keep a positive outlook but we tried to play proper test cricket, bat long and build partnerships."

He said an injury to batsman Tillakaratne Dilshan influenced the decision to agree draw stumps early. Dilshan has a fractured finger and a cut above the eyebrow.


Sangakkara, the usually flamboyant left-hander was more sedate, spending more than seven hours at the crease, facing 303 balls and hitting just seven fours. He lost his overnight partner Thilan Samaraweera in the middle session after a 122-run stand for the fourth wicket. But he then combined with Mathews to resist the tourists and ensure the tail was not exposed.

Mathews brought up his maiden half-century and was 64 not out at close. He faced 148 balls and hit seven fours and a six.

Samaraweera appeared in discomfort after suffering a cramp and was soon out, edging a doosra from Saeed Ajmal to wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal. His 73 runs came off 143 balls and included 11 fours.

West Indies will retain the record for the highest fourth innings run chase with 418-7 against Australia six years ago.

Sri Lanka got a good start to the run chase on Thursday as openers Tharanga Paranavitana and Malinda Warnapura put on 83 for the first wicket before legspinner Danish Kaneria took two wickets to jolt the chase.

Warnapura (31), Paranavitana (73) and Mahela Jayawardene (2) were dismissed before the close on the fourth day. Kaneria was the best of the Pakistan bowlers in the second innings, with 2-114.


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