On yet another absorbing day of Test cricket, New Zealand bowlers put on an outstanding performance to bundle out Sri Lanka for 122 in the second innings, as the visitors registered an emphatic win by an innings and 65 runs to level the two-match series.
New Zealand, much like they did on their previous tour to the island nation in 2012, bounced back from a defeat in the first Test to share the honours in the two-match series. With this win, the Kane Williamson led side earned their first points at the World Test Championship table.
Resuming from their overnight score of 382/5, New Zealand lost Colin de Grandhomme to the second ball of the day, as the all-rounder skied one off Lasith Embuldeniya when on 83. BJ Watling, the wicket-keeper batsman however, continued to score steadily and soon registered his seventh Test century. Watling found able support in Tim Southee, who scored a whirlwind 10-ball 24*, as the visitors declared at 431/6, having added 49 off just five overs on the final morning.
Already trailing the visitors’ first innings total by 187 runs, Sri Lanka had the worst possible start to their second innings, as Ajaz Patel’s direct hit caught Lahiru Thirimanne short of his crease on the fifth ball of the innings. Kusal Perera, his new opening partner who had replaced skipper Dimuth Karunaratne at the top, couldn’t trouble the scorers either, edging one off Trent Boult.
De Grandhomme then, continued from where he left with the bat, striking on his third delivery to remove the experienced Angelo Matthews for 7. Dhananjaya de Silva, the centurion from the first innings fell to Ajaz Patel for one, while William Somerville removed Kusal Mendis for 20 as Sri Lanka were left tottering at 32/5.
Karunaratne, who had been off the field during New Zealand’s innings due to thigh strain, joined Niroshan Dickwella to continue resistance for more than 20 overs post-lunch. Southee then gave his side a much needed breakthrough, trapping the Lankan skipper for 21 and thereby, registering his 250th Test wicket. He soon made it 251, removing Dilruwan Perera for a twelve-ball duck as the Black Caps inched closer to victory.
Dickwella and Suranga Lakmal kept the visitors at bay for nearly 18 overs, before Somerville ended the latter’s 45-ball stay at the crease. Dickwella fell to Patel soon after registering his 13th Test fifty, while Boult dismissed Embuldeniya, to complete a resounding win.
Tom Latham, who scored a marathon 154 for New Zealand was named as the Player of the Match while Watling, who backed his 77 in the first Test with a century in the second, bagged the Player of the Series award.
New Zealand will now head to Katunayake for a T20 practice game against Sri Lanka Board President XI, before the three-match T20I series gets underway on 31 August in Pallekele.
Photo and Article Courtesy – ICC
Additional Inputs by TST Sports Desk