Sharjah: Kumar Sangakkara passed the 9,000 Test runs milestone and captain Tillakaratne Dilshan struck 92 on Thursday to put Sri Lanka in control of the third and final cricket Test against Pakistan.
Sangakkara hit a fluent, unbeaten 112 as Sri Lanka closed on 245-2 after winning the toss at Sharjah Cricket Stadium. Taking only 172 innings, he beat India's Rahul Dravid by four innings to become the fastest player to total 9,000 runs when he reached 28.
The 33-year-old Sangakkara's 27th Test century spanned 263 balls and was decorated with 11 fours and two sixes.
Dilshan provided solid support after promoting himself back to the opening spot, striking 12 fours and a six off 168 deliveries, in a second-wicket stand of 173 with Sangakkara.
Fast bowler Umar Gul (1-43) and off-spinner Saeed Ajmal (1-71) were the successful Pakistan bowlers.
Gul gave the hosts a bright start when Tharanga Paranavitana on 4 edged the day's fifth delivery to second slip and Younus Khan held a high catch. Paranavitana had been dropped off the previous delivery, a sharp inside edge missed by Azhar Ali at short leg.
Pakistan and Gul thought they had removed Dilshan on 33 just before lunch but umpire Shahvir Tarapore ruled not out on a leg side catch by the wicketkeeper. TV replays indicated the ball brushed the glove.
The pair blossomed after the break. Sangakkara was the first to 50, off 112 balls, soon followed by Dilshan off 91 deliveries.
Dilshan looked set to move on to three figures as the pair guided Sri Lanka to tea at 170-1 with the skipper on 90. But Ajmal finally gave Pakistan some joy, claiming Dilshan to a slip catch when he edged a doosra.
Sangakkara, whose only real blemish was when a thick edge off Ajmal flew off wicketkeeper Adnan Akmal's shoulder, was not going to waste the opportunity for another century.
He moved into the 90s by cracking Junaid Khan for three boundaries in one over and soon brought up his landmark in grand style, waltzing down the pitch and lofting Abdur Rehman over the ropes for six.
He and long-time teammate Mahela Jayawardene consolidated Sri Lanka's advantage in the last two hours, putting on an unbroken 68 for the third wicket.
Jayawardene, trying to rebound from a lean first two Tests, was unbeaten on 32. The right-hander struck two fours off 82 balls.