Having dismissed New Zealand for 249, Sri Lanka threw away the initiative of what promised to be a sizable first innings lead collapsing from a strong 143 for 3 wickets to finish on 227 for 7 wickets at stumps on the second day of the first test of the ICC World Test Championship played at the Galle International Cricket Stadium yesterday.
It might have been worse but for a resolute unfinished eighth wicket alliance between Niroshan Dickwella who was on 39 off 74 balls and Suranga Lakmal on 28 off 79. Full credit to the duo as Dickwella curbed his characteristic urge to play freely in fronting an innings of responsibility hitting just a solitary boundary to haul his side back into contention having taken strike with the total on 155 for 5 while Lakmal, who came in with the total on 161 for 7, batted bravely in his 79-ball knock containing two boundaries and a six. Sri Lanka owed much to the lanky pace bowler who finished with a splendid second day spell of 4 for 15 in 5.2 overs.
New Zealand failed to extend their overnight 203 for 5 to a big score losing the last 5 wickets for the addition of 46 runs with Lakmal dismissing Ross Taylor off the very first delivery of the day in a spell that fetched him 4 for 15.
Sri Lanka lost Lahiru Thirimanne with the total on 27 as the left hander, who had been pegged down for 10 off 36 deliveries, lost his cool and charged down to a Patel delivery to be stumped b y Watling. Skipper Dimuth Karunaratne made a composed 39 off 73 inclusive of 4 boundaries and was next out with the total on 66 leg before wicket to Patel in the fifth ball of the 23rd over having added 39 with Kusal Mendis for the second wicket. The entry of Angelo Mathews produced an enterprising 77-run third wicket partnership between Mendis off 144 balls, but the dismissal of Mendis for 53 (89b, 7×4) in the 47th over caught behind by Taylor to a Patel delivery with the total on 143 started the rot as Sri Lanka slumped to 6 for 158. Mendis’ knock was of mixed aggression and defence having waded into the Kiwi attack in moving onto 39 in next to nothing before getting into a shell. Kusal Janith Perera made 1 off 4 claimed by Trent Boult to a Santner catch, Dhananjaya de Silva went next for 5 off 19 another Patel victim followed by Mathews also cleaned up by Patel when he failed to get behind a delivery that pitched on middle and off and moved away nicking a lollypop catch to the wicket-keeper. Mathews made 50 off 98 with 7 boundaries and a six. The dismissal of Akila Dananjaya who became Taylor’s third caught behind victim to Somerville saw Sri Lanka in all sorts of trouble before Dickwella and Lakmal staged a splendid recovery as the hosts finished the day 22 runs behind New Zealand with three wickets intact. The left arm orthodox Ajaz Patel finished with 5 for 76.
New Zealand 203/5 overnight, 249 all out (83.2 Overs) Run Rate: 2.98
(R. Taylor 86, A. Dananjaya 5/80, R.A.S. Lakmal 4/29)
Sri Lanka 227/7 (80 Overs) Run Rate 2.83
(B.K.G. Mendis 53, A.D. Mathews 50, N. Dickwella 39 n.o. F.D.M. Karunaratne 39, R.A.S. Lakmal 28 n.o., A.Y. Patel 5/76)
By Srian Obeyesekere
-The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Sri Lanka Cricket-