By Srian Obeyesekere
New Zealand defeated Sri Lanka by 2 wickets in the first Test with star batsman Kane Williamson reeling off an unbeaten 121 off 194 balls and Daryl Mitchell 81 off 86 leading the way on the fifth and final day at the Hagley Oval at Christchurch Monday to go one up in the 2-match series.
Despite the start of play being delayed by a wet outfield, New Zealand’s overnight pair of Williamson and Tom Latham soon got on course adding 22 runs to the overnight 28 before Latham was bowled by Prabath Jayasuriya for 25. Williamson proceeded to take control of the situation adding a further 40 for the third wicket with Henry Nicholas who made 20 becoming Jayasuriya’s second victim to a catch by Kusal Mendis with the score 90 for 3 after 35.4 overs as the former Kiwi skipper found an able ally in first innings centurion Daryl Mitchell in adding 142 for the fourth wicket as New Zealand sighted victory when Mitchell departed bowled by pacer Asitha Fernando. He had performed a fine acceleration job hitting 4 sixes and 3 boundaries. Williamson’s match winning innings marked his 28th test century as he stood to the end in stalling a Sri Lankan fight back as the 32-year old right-hander, who led New Zealand to a historic 2019 ICC World Test Championship, notched his 28th test ton. He struck 11 boundaries and a six in carrying the Player of the Match award.
Asitha Fernando 3 for 63 and Prabath Jayasuriya 2 for 92 were the pick of the Lankan bowlers.
Sri Lanka 355 & 302 (Angelo Mathews 115, Dhananjaya de Silva n.o. 47, Dinesh Chandimal 42, Blair Tickner 4/100, Matt Henry 3/71, Tim Southee 2/57)
New Zealand 373 & 286/8 (70 Overs) (Kane Williamson n.o. 121, Daryl Mitchell 81, Tom Latham 25, Henry Nicholas 20, Asitha Fernando 3/63, Prabath Jayasuriya 2/92, Kasun Rajitha 1/63, Lahiru Kumara 1/61)