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Stage set for absorbing fifth day; New Zealand 382/5, lead by 138

New Zealand meteorically batted into a commanding 382 for 5 wickets for an overall 138-run first innings lead in a race against time in the rain bugged second Test match of the ICC Test Championship at stumps of the fourth day’s play at the P. Saravanamuththu Stadium on Sunday.

The rain dictated match that went into the pattern of delayed starts with play resuming at 1.40 p.m. saw New Zealand’s overnight pair of centurion Tom Latham and B.J. Watling extend their fifth wicket partnership to 169 runs. Latham’s marathon 251-ball 154 inclusive of 15 boundaries ended well into the second new ball when Dilruwan Perera trapped him leg before wicket. It was the only success the Lankan bowlers reaped as the Kiwi batsmen took them to the cleaners to the tune of 188 runs with Watling unconquered on 81 off 208 balls with just the 4 boundaries and Colin Grandhomme on 83 off 75 containing 5 boundaries and 5 sixes in an unfinished 113-run sixth wicket partnership.  

On a day only 48 overs were possible, the mixture of defence and aggression by the visitors was the foundation of wresting control which gathered momentum with the advent of the hard hitting Grandhomme. Sri Lanka might well have had the wicket of Latham who was on 111 when Angelo Mathews, who was acting for the injured skipper Dimuth Karunaratne, failed to hold on to a flying head high catch to second slip off Lahiru Kumara in the 69th over.

The final day is set for an absorbing contest, weather permitting where Kane Williamson and his charges will be to pile on the runs for a series squaring victory. Sri Lanka will be handicapped by Karunaratne’s non participation yesterday from a hamstring tear which will preclude him from batting not higher than No.7 in the second innings.

CHIEF SCORES:

Sri Lanka 244 All Out (92.2 Overs) Run Rate: 2.7

(D.M. de Silva 109, F.D.M. Karunaratne 65, T.G. Southee 4/63, T.A. Boult 3/75)

New Zealand 382/5 (110 Overs) Run Rate: 3.47

(T.W.M. Latham 154, C. de Grandhomme n.o. 83, B.J. Watling n.o. 81, 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-

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