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Sri Lanka pair break Test record

First Test, Karachi (day two, close):
Sri Lanka 644-7 v Pakistan 44-1

Thilan Samaraweera (left) and Mahela Jayawardene
Samaraweera (left) and Jayawardene were remorseless in Karachi

Mahela Jayawardene and Thilan Samaraweera broke a 52-year-old record as they set a new mark for the highest fourth-wicket stand in Test cricket.

The Sri Lanka batsmen put on 437 against Pakistan to erase the record of English greats Peter May and Colin Cowdrey, who put on 411 in 1957.

Captain Jayawardene scored 240 while Samaraweera made 231.

Sri Lanka finally declared on 644-7 with the hosts 44-1 at the close of play on day two of the first Test.

Opener Salman Butt was the man to go, edging Muttiah Muralitharan to Jayawardene at first slip for 23.

The prolific Jayawardene, who became the first Sri Lankan to pass 8,000 Test runs on Saturday, hooked up with Kumar Sangakkara to set the all-time Test mark of 624, in 2006 against South Africa.

606: DEBATE

The Sri Lanka captain's partnership with Samaraweera, who hit his maiden Test double century in the process, is the eighth highest overall in the history of Test cricket.

May and Cowdrey's previous mark for the fourth wicket came against the West Indies at Edgbaston, and was one of the oldest significant Test records around.

Jayawardene has said he will resign the captaincy following this two-match series, with Sangakkara expected to succeed him.

After batting through nearly the first two sessions in Karachi, Jayawardene and Samaraweera were dismissed just before tea after a partnership that spanned 643 balls and 450 minutes.

I do not want to make excuses for our performance but let me made it clear we did not ask for this sort of pitch.

Pakistan coach Intikhab Alam

The double centurions and Tillakaratne Dilshan all fell in the space of 10 balls, with Jayawardene the first to go.

He tried to sweep off-spinner Shoaib Malik but was brilliantly caught down the leg side by keeper Kamran Akmal with the total on 614.

Samaraweera fell seven balls later, with no addition to the score, when he was bowled by a flipper from leg-spinner Danesh Kaneria.

And Pakistan got their third wicket at the same total when Dilshan was caught behind playing defensively at a doosra from Malik.

Sri Lanka added another 30 runs before declaring on their highest total against Pakistan and the late dismissal of Butt leaves them well in control.

Pakistan coach Intikhab Alam said the pitch had not been prepared to his team's liking.

"We were not expecting this sort of track. We wanted a surface with some grass and bounce," said Alam.

"I do not want to make excuses for our performance but let me make it clear we did not ask for this sort of pitch."

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see also
Jayawardene dominates in Pakistan
21 Feb 09 |  Pakistan
New faces named in Pakistan squad
20 Feb 09 |  Pakistan
Jayawardene to quit captaincy job
11 Feb 09 |  Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka in Pakistan 2009
04 Feb 09 |  Cricket


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