Sydney: Captain Mahela Jayawardene hit his first Test half-century on tour in over three years to bolster injury-hit Sri Lanka's first innings in the third Test against Australia.
In a welcome return to form after fellow 10,000 Test run-scorer Kumar Sangakkara's enforced absence with a fractured finger, Jayawardene led from the front for his embattled team after two heavy Test defeats in Hobart and Melbourne. It was Jayawardene's first half-century in Tests outside Sri Lanka in 27 innings since a knock of 275 against India in Ahmedabad in November 2009.
Jayawardene brought up his 50 with a streaky edge that bounced in front of Mike Hussey at second slip and went to the boundary ropes at the Sydney Cricket Ground. But he was out for 72 in the hour before tea, caught at first slip by Michael Clarke off left-armer Mitchell Starc in the 43rd over.
His last Test knock of fifty or more was 27 innings ago against India in Nov 2009 when he scored 275 at Ahmedabad.
Starc had a few anxious moments when English umpire Nigel Llong first checked for an overstepping no-ball but replays showed that Starc's heel was just behind the popping crease before he dragged it forward and the dismissal was confirmed.
The Sri Lanka skipper batted for 154 minutes and faced 110 balls for his half-century laced with 12 boundaries and a straight-hit six off spinner Nathan Lyon.