Hamilton: New Zealand bowlers came out with a stupendous bowling performance to bowl out Sri Lanka for just 133 runs in their second innings to set up an achievable 189 runs target to win the match.
In the morning, Sri Lanka took the final wicket of New Zealand’s second innings to clean them up for 237 runs and take a handy first innings lead of 55 runs. But the test match went in for a roller-coaster ride as Sri Lanka got off to a rollicking start of 71 runs opening stand before coming apart like a deck of cards. Tim Southee, who took three wickets in the first innings, added four more to his name in the second innings as Sri Lanka were reduced from 71-0 to 133 all out. The visitors lost a critical chance to square the series.
With just 189 runs to chase and two and a half days play left, New Zealand batsman opted for slow and careful approach. With absolutely no need for taking the risks, they slowly crawled towards their target even as Sri Lankan bowlers tried their best to create panic in the middle. The visitors kept taking wickets at regular interval but Kane Williamson ensured that the situation was under control. He scored 78 runs, which included seven 4’s and one six to keep the scoreboard ticking, and was unbeaten. New Zealand ended their day at 142-5 in 42 overs, only 47 runs far from an emphatic series victory.
Sri Lank will have to play out of their skins if they have to square the series. Kane Williamson will play a critical role tomorrow. New Zealand is currently ranked no.4 in ICC Test Rankings while Sri Lanka is at no.5. With the ICC planning to schedule ICC Cricket World Cup for Test matches, both teams need to improve their standards
MATCH SUMMARY Stumps, Day 3
SRI LANKA 1st Innings 80.1 Overs 292
A Mathews 77 (125) T Southee 3-63
M Siriwardana 62 (81) T Boult 2-51
D Chandimal 47 (56) D Bracewell 2-81
NEW ZEALAND 1st Innings 79.4 Overs 237
M Guptill 50 (77) D Chameera 5-47
M Santner 38 (105) N Pradeep 2-39
D Bracewell 35*(52) R Herath 2-75
SRI LANKA 2nd Innings 36.3 Overs 133
K Mendis 46 (90) T Southee 4-26
D Karunaratne 27 (65) N Wagner 3-40
M Siriwardana 26 (18) D Bracewell 2-31
NEW ZEALAND 2nd Innings 42 Overs 142-5
K Williamson 78*(120) D Chameera 4-45
R Taylor 35 (53) S Lakmal 1-19
B McCullum 18 (35) A Mathews 0-4
SRI LANKA ARE AHEAD BY 46 RUNS