Centurion Sangakkara keeps Sri Lanka afloat

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Kumar Sangakkara hit a big unbeaten hundred, but Sri Lanka will still go into the final day of their first Test against Pakistan with a lot of work to do if they're to avoid defeat.

Kumar Sangakkara hit a big unbeaten hundred, but Sri Lanka will still go into the final day of their first Test against Pakistan with a lot of work to do if they're to avoid defeat.

Sangakkara batted throughout the fourth day to go to stumps on 161 not out, but with Sri Lanka still 16 runs adrift with just five wickets in hand Pakistan should be favourites to wrap up victory on the final day.

They would have done so already were it not for a series of dropped catches, which saw both Sangakkara and overnight partner Lahiru Thirimanne reprieved four times as they made their way through the opening session unscathed.

Junaid Khan was the unlucky bowler on three of those occasions, and saw Thirimanne put down off successive deliveries by Mohammad Hafeez, while Sangakkara had another life just before lunch when Younis Khan spurned a chance after offspinner Saeed Ajmal had found the edge.

Sri Lanka went to lunch on 125 for one, but Pakistan's bowlers stuck to their guns in spite of the disappointments and were rewarded with three wickets in the second session.

Azhar Ali made the breakthrough when he ran out Thirimanne for 68, prompting a middle-order collapse as Ajmal bowled Mahela Jayawardene and Khan knocked Tillakaratne Dilshan's middle stump out of the ground.

Sangakkara held firm though, and went to three figures in 173 deliveries as he found some support from Angelo Mathews. The duo saw Sri Lanka to tea on 212 for four, but were parted by the second new ball just eight overs later as Mathews (22) was immediately trapped lbw by Umar Gul.

Once again a four-day finish looked a distinct possibility, but Prasanna Jayawardene, who had ducked out in the first innings, dug in and saw out the next 20 overs to see Sri Lanka to stumps.

A tired Sangakkara walked off a satisfied man as his side closed on 298 for five, but will know that he needs to bat another two sessions on Saturday to make the game well and truly safe.

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