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Retiring Mahela opens to close out Pakistan

Galle: Retiring Mahela Jayawardene took on the unusual role of opening batsman to hand Sri Lanka a thrilling seven-wicket win on the final day of the first Test against Pakistan in Galle yesterday.

Sri Lanka opener Mahela Jayawardene celebrates a boundary with Kumar Sangakkara. Pic/AFP
Sri Lanka opener Mahela Jayawardene celebrates a boundary with Kumar Sangakkara. Pic/AFP 

The hosts, needing 99 to win in a minimum of 21 overs, beat fading light and approaching rain to cruise home in the 17th over in front of some 5,000-odd jubilant home fans.

Jayawardene, who is due to retire from Test cricket after the two-match series, scored 26 before Kumar Sangakkara (21) and skipper Angelo Mathews (25 not out) chipped in lower down the order.

Mathews and Kithuruwan Vithanage smashed 17 runs in the 16th over bowled by Junaid Khan and then scored the winning run in the next over just before rain hit Galle.

The win was set up by left-arm spinner Rangana Herath, who claimed six for 48 that bundled Pakistan out for 180 in their second innings in the post-tea session.

Pakistan, who started the day at 4-1, lost three wickets in the morning session to go to lunch on 66-4.

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