Sri Lanka crumbled to an innings and 65-run defeat to being bundled out for 122 in the second innings by 4.44 p.m. as New Zealand squared the series 1-all at the P. Saravanamuththu International Cricket Stadium on Monday. Taking second lease 187 runs in arrears after New Zealand had declared for the addition of 49 runs in 5 overs of rain affected delayed start, Sri Lanka’s top order fell like nine pins. Things started badly with Lahiru Thirimanne shockingly running himself out without scoring going for a needless run when the need of the hour was occupation of the crease. It was sheer bad judgment. Kusal Janith Perera too followed for a duck having opened in Place of Dimuth Karunaratne whose injury absence on the field necessitated that he bat at No.7. Mathews went for 7 and Dhananjaya de Silva for 1 before wicket-keeper batsman Niroshan Dickwella kept New Zealand at bay with a dogged 51 off 161 balls consuming 211 minutes inclusive of 6 boundaries. There was hope as long as he was there with Sri Lanka needing to bat out 36 overs in the final session.
But the fight was lost when he paddled on his knees at Ajaz Patel to lob dolly catch to Latham being ninth out with the total on 118. Before that the dismissal of Dimuth Karunaratne for 21 after an innings reviving 41-run sixth wicket alliance with Dickwella from 32 for 5 to 73 when he fell plumb leg before wicket to a Southee delivery put paid to resistance by the last recognised specialist batsmen.
For New Zealand and Skipper Kane Williamson, it was a perfect scripting with 60 Test points to boot. It was capped by Tom Latham adjudged the Player of the Match and B.J. Watling’s105 off 226 balls consuming 306 minutes and containing 9 boundaries while paceman Trent Boult followed compatriot Tim Southee in this match in joining the 250-wicket elite band.
Sri Lanka 244 and 122 all out (70.2 Overs) Run Rate: 1.73
(N. Dickwella 51, F.D.M. Karunaratne 21, R.A.S. Lakmal 14, T. Southee 4/63, T. Boult 3/75)
New Zealand 431/6 decl. (115 Overs) Run Rate: 3.74
(T.W.M. Latham 154, B.J. Watling 105, C. de Grandhomme 83, M. D.K. Perera 3/114)
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-