COLOMBO, Sri Lanka: Mahela Jayawardene smashed his 34th test century as Sri Lanka overcame an early hiccup and scored a healthy 305-5 on day one of the second test against South Africa on Thursday.
Jayawardene made a splendid unbeaten 140 off 225 balls with 16 fours and a six on a flat pitch at Sinhalese Sports Club and raised his 11th test century at the venue -- the most by any batsman at one venue.
Dale Steyn (2-55) had Sri Lanka reeling at 16-2 when he snared wickets off successive deliveries before Jayawardene put on 99 for the third wicket with Kaushal Silva (44), and another 131 with captain Angelo Mathews, who scored 63.
Jayawardene, who will retire from test cricket next month, showed brilliant form at his favorite venue as Sri Lanka bid to level the two-match series after losing the first test at Galle.
Earlier, Mathews won the toss but a charged-up Steyn had early success when Upul Tharanga couldn't get his glove out of the way while attempting to leave a short ball and very next ball Kumar Sangakkara top edged an easy catch off another short delivery.
But Jayawardene and Silva combined for an attractive stand at a healthy run-rate before J.P. Duminy (2-58) had Silva caught by A.B. de Villiers in the slips in the last over before lunch.
South Africa could have removed Silva while he was on 10, soon after Steyn's double strike, but Alviro Petersen missed a catch at third slip off fast bowler Vernon Philander.
Jayawardene completed his 49th test half century off 58 balls and continued to dominate the bowlers after lunch -- especially leg spinner Imran Tahir. He completed his century by sweeping a full toss of Dean Elgar in the last over before tea and ran for two.
Mathews completed his half century off 100 balls soon after the break before Duminy broke the stand when Mathews tried to cut the spinner but got a faint edge to wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock.
Morne Morkel finally had his lone success of the day when nervy looking Kithuruwan Vithanage (13) fended at a short pitched delivery and got the shoulder of the bat to de Villiers in the slips.
Sri Lanka made three changes to its lineup and brought in Dickwella, replacing Dinesh Chandimal, while another youngster Vithanage came in place of Lahiru Thirimanne.
Ajantha Mendis replaced injured fast bowler Shaminda Eranga as Sri Lanka expected the pitch would aid three spinners.
South Africa kept faith in its three fast bowlers -- Steyn, Philander and Morkel -- with Tahir its specialist legspinner.