Sri Lanka fans did not have long to wait to see former skipper Mahela Jayawardene walk out to bat in his final test after Pakistan took two wickets in the afternoon session on the first day of the second test on Thursday. The hosts had reached 162 for two at the tea interval, with opener Upul Tharanga on 81 and Jayawardene, batting at number four, unbeaten on four in his 149th and final test appearance.
Pakistan ended a stubborn opening stand in the sixth over after lunch when Junaid Khan induced an outside edge off the bat of Kaushal Silva to wicket-keeper Sarfraz Ahmed. Silva scored a patient 41 in a partnership of 79 with Tharanga as Sri Lanka looked to build a solid platform in the second match of a two-test series they lead 1-0 after a thrilling victory in Galle.
Kumar Sangakkara, the most prolific scorer in the series so far, had a testing time against Wahab Riaz before he was bowled off an inside edge for just 22. Riaz peppered Sangakkara, who scored a double century in the first test, with short-pitched balls which momentarily shook his confidence and eventually led to his downfall.
As Sangakkara departed, Jayawardene walked out to a standing ovation and the Pakistan players formed a guard of honour as fire-crackers exploded around the packed Sinhalese Sports Club ground. The batting stalwart survived a tough first ball from Riaz that beat his outside edge but he was soon off the mark with a single from the fourth delivery he faced.
At the stroke of tea, however, visibly emotional from the warm reception he received, Jayawardene edged a delivery from Junaid which Sarfraz narrowly failed to get a glove under.
Sri Lanka had started slowly to reach 69 without loss at lunch after winning the toss and opting to bat.
Lead off-spinner Saeed Ajmal, with a cloud of uncertainty hanging over his bowling action after being reported by the umpires following the last test, was brought on in the 15th over and immediately induced a false stroke from Tharanga. Tharanga survived a difficult stumping chance on 24 when he launched into Ajmal but wicket-keeper Sarfraz, who was not wearing a helmet, failed to collect the ball as it reared up alarmingly and hit him on the left ear.
Play was delayed for a while as Sarfraz received treatment on the field.