Sri Lanka’s Kaushal Silva and Kumar Sangakkara closed in on an unbeaten century stand on Thursday to frustrate Pakistan at the start of the rain-hit first Test in Galle.
The pair put on 93 runs for the second wicket as the hosts carried their lunch score of 1-40 to 123 without further loss by tea on the scheduled second day at the Galle International Stadium.
Silva was not out 52 and Sangakkara was on 41 after Pakistan captain Misbah-ul Haq surprisingly elected to field first on an easy-paced pitch after winning the toss.
Left-handed Sangakkara, Test cricket’s current leading run-getter who is expected to retire during the home series against India in August, has so far hit two boundaries and a six.
Pakistan could have removed Sangakkara when he was on 24, but Azhar Ali at short-leg spilled a sharp chance off legspinner Yasir Shah.
Silva, looking comfortable against pace and spin, has eight boundaries to his name in his eighth Test half-century.
After the entire first day on Wednesday was washed out, the match began two hours late on the second day due to a wet outfield.
Left-handed Dimuth Karunaratne scored 21 in an opening stand of 30 with Silva when he was dismissed by left-arm seamer Wahab Riaz in the 13th over.
Karunaratne attempted to pull a short ball but only managed to edge a catch to wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed to provide the tourists a much-needed breakthrough.
Wahab had Karunaratne caught in the slips off a no-ball in his first over before Australian umpire Paul Reiffel warned the bowler for running on the wicket on his follow through later in the same over.
The prolific Sangakkara, who took a break from his English county commitments with Surrey to play for his nation, began ominously by driving his first delivery from Wahab to the mid-on fence.
Rain has been forecast in the southern coastal town for all five days of the match.
Sri Lanka and Pakistan are due to play three Tests, followed by five one-day internationals and two Twenty20 matches.