Late wickets put Sri Lanka ahead against New Zealand in Christchurch

SUMMARY: Sri Lanka 355 (Kusal Mendis 87, Dimuth Karunaratne 50; Tim Southee 5-64, Matt Henry 4-80) lead New Zealand 162-5 (Tom Latham 67; Daryl Mitchell 40*; Lahiru Kumara 2-34, Asitha Fernando 2-42) by 193 runs


Sri Lanka struck back in the second half of the day to limit New Zealand to 162-5, despite Tom Latham’s 67, at the end of Day Two in the first Test at the Hagley Oval in Christchurch, on Friday.

The day began with the hosts turning the tide of the contest in their favour, picking up the last four Sri Lankan wickets for an addition of only 50 runs to their overnight score, bundling out the visitors for 355 before Lunch.

Tim Southee and Matt Henry picked a brace each in the morning to finish with five and four wickets respectively.

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Sri Lanka’s stutter started in the second over itself when Dhananjaya de Silva fell four short of his half century getting an edge on his attempted cut off Southee to the wicketkeeper.

New Zealand pacers were kept at bay till the second new ball was taken. However, in the 82nd over, Kasun Rajitha’s stay was cut short by Matt Henry as he got a leading edge to Kane Williamson at extra cover.

The pacer then sent Prabath Jayasuriya packing – only two deliveries after he put down a return catch. Southee picked up the last wicket, trapping Asitha Fernando, to end Sri lanka’s innings.

In response, New Zealand showed far greater discipline early on, with Latham and Devon Conway playing out the first hours of the new ball attack, stitching a watchful 67-run stand for the opening wicket.

They weren’t troubled much by the Sri Lankan pacers, who didn’t take advantage of the new ball, failing to bowl in probing channels.

However, just before the Tea break, they struck twice – dismissing Conway and Williamson in quick succession. While the former was trapped leg-before by Fernando’s incoming delivery from around the wicket, the latter played an uppish drive to the short cover fielder at the stroke of Tea.

The visitors pounced on that opportunity and sustained the pressure throughout the last session of play. Henry Nicholls fell early, getting hurried into a pull short by Kumara and top edging it to short mid-wicket.

Latham, who had looked assured through the course of his 27th Test fifty was undone by a full pitched delivery from Fernando, that tailed away at the last moment and crashed on to the stumps.

Sri Lanka kept striking at regular intervals after the first wicket stand, ensuring the momentum never slipped away from their hands after that point. Towards the end of the day’s play, Tom Blundell was undone by an angled-in delivery that pitched in line and went away, only to catch the edge of his bat en route the ‘keeper.

Daryl Mitchell played a vital hand, remaining steady across three partnerships – with Latham, Blundell and Michael Bracewell – to head to stumps safely, unbeaten on 40, with a 193-run deficit yet to be wiped off. (cricbuzz)

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