The South Africa captain Ashwell Prince was still leading the resistance at the end of day four of the first Test against Sri Lanka yesterday, but his team still had plenty of batting to do to avoid defeat.
The tourists reached 311 for 4 in their second innings at stumps, 276 runs adrift of the first-innings score set by their record-breaking hosts. Prince was unbeaten on 60 while he had received some stalwart support from the wicketkeeper Mark Boucher, who had made 38 in an unbroken fifth-wicket stand of 77.
South Africa had been left with a mammoth first-innings deficit on Saturday after Sri Lanka declared on 756 for 5. The vast majority of those runs had come in a world-record stand of 624 between Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara, who had come together at 14 for 2.
Jayawardene eventually fell for 374, while Sangakkara made 287 in a partnership that was both a Test and first-class record for any wicket. Jayawardene's knock was the fourth best in Test history, with only Brian Lara's 1993-94 and 2003-04 knocks of 375 and 400 not out, respectively, against England and Matthew Hayden's 380 against a weakened Zimbabwe team in 2003 above him in the all-time list. He eclipsed the Sri Lankan Test best of 340 set by his team-mate Sanath Jayasuriya in 1997, in what was previously the world-record Test stand of 576 with the now-retired Roshan Mahanama.
The crowd had grown during the afternoon as spectators sensed a chance to watch Jayawardene break Lara's record. But the carnival atmosphere was punctured when his off stump was knocked back shortly after South Africa took the second new ball.
Jayasuriya's 340was against India at Premadasa International Stadium in 1997. Jayawardene and Sangakkara also became only the second pair in Test history each to score 250 in the same innings, after Gary Sobers and Conrad Hunte for West Indies against Pakistan in 1957-58.
Sangakkara's 287, which is a personal best, spanned 457 balls and included 35 fours.
Dynamic duos Best stands in Tests
* K C Sangakkara & D P M D Jayawardene 624 Sri Lanka v S Africa, Colombo, 2006
* S T Jayasuriya & R S Mahanama 576 S Lanka v India, Colombo 1997
* A H Jones & M D Crowe 467 New Zealand v Sri Lanka, Wellington, 1990
* W H Ponsford & D G Bradman 451 England v Australia, the Oval, 1934
Third and fourth days; South Africa won toss
South Africa - First Innings 169 (A B de Villiers 65; M Muralitharan 4-41, C R D Fernando 4-48).
Sri Lanka - First Innings
(Friday: 485 for 2)
K C Sangakkara c Boucher b Hall 287
D P M Jayawardene b Nel 374
T M Dilshan lbw b Steyn 45
C K Kapugedera not out 1
Extras (b16 lb6 w8 nb8) 38
Total (for 5 dec, 185.1 overs) 756
Fall: 1-6 2-14 3-638 4-751 5-756
Did not bat: ÝH A P W Jayawardene, M F Maharoof, S L Malinga, C R D Fernando, M Muralitharan.
Bowling: Ntini 31-3-97-0; Steyn 26-1-129-3; Nel 25.1-2-114-1; Hall 25-2-99-1; Boje 65-5-221-0; Rudolph 7-0-45-0; Prince 2-0-7-0; De Villiers 4-0-22-0.
South Africa - Second Innings
(Overnight: 43 for 0)
J A Rudolph c Kapugedera b Fernando 90
A J Hall lbw b Muralitharan 64
H M Amla lbw b Fernando 2
*A G Prince not out 60
A B de Villiers lbw b Muralitharan 24
ÝM V Boucher not out 38
Extras (b10 lb1 w2 nb20) 33
Total (for 4, 105 overs) 311
Fall: 1-165 2-171 3-185 4-234.
To bat: H H Gibbs, N Boje, A Nel, M Ntini, D W Steyn.
Bowling: Malinga 14-0-78-0; Maharoof 11-2-29-0; Fernando 16-4-49-2; Muralitharan 40-6-83-2; Dilshan 4-1-10-0; Jayasuriya 20-4-51-0.
Umpires: M R Benson (Eng) and B F Bowden (NZ).Reuse content