October 20, 2019
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    New Zealand draw series after Sri Lanka collapse on final day

    August 26, 2019

    New Zealand completed a series-leveling win by an innings and 65 runs on the final day in Colombo after Sri Lanka folded for 122. On Monday (August 26), New Zealand declared on 431 for 6 after BJ Watling’s ton and bought themselves enough time to force an innings win, only the fourth by a non-Asian side in Sri Lanka.

    After a delayed start to the day, New Zealand batted for five overs to allow Watling to complete his seventh Test ton. Colin de Grandhomme fell on the second ball of the day but New Zealand managed 49 runs and stretched their lead to 187. The pressure was firmly on Sri Lanka as they had to battle 91 overs.

    Poor strokeplay from the Sri Lankan top-order meant they lost five wickets in the first session and finished with 33 on the board. It all started with Lahiru Thirimanne’s run out on the fifth ball of the innings. Dimuth Karunaratne wasn’t allowed to open as the Sri Lanka captain had spent two hours out of the field. Kusal Perera, his replacement, chased a wide one, just like Angelo Mathews, and was caught behind.

    First innings centurion Dhananjaya de Silva tried to take on Ajaz Patel by charging down the track but the leading edge landed with Tim Southee at first slip. Kusal Mendis was the final wicket to fall in the first session as he was undone by a stunner from William Somerville that dipped and found the gap between bat and pad to take the top of off.

    Sri Lanka, though, started well in the second session as Karunaratne and Niroshan Dickwella played out the first hour without much trouble. Lapse in concentration helped New Zealand open the door as the captain was trapped in front by Southee with the batsman offering no shot. That was the breakthrough New Zealand were desperately searching for as Dilruwan Perera fell soon after edging a wide one to first slip to give Southee his second.

    Dickwella got to his half-century and frustrated the visitors for a while. Suranga Lakmal was stubborn but couldn’t do much; he was shielded well by the ‘keeper-batsman. It all came to a swift end as Dickwella fell for 51 in the 70th over after blunting out 161 deliveries. The visitors walk away with 60 points in the bag in the World Test Championship table and a satisfying win after the loss in Galle.

    Brief scores: Sri Lanka 244 (Dhananjaya de Silva 109; Tim Southee 4-63) & 122 (Tim Southee 2-15) lost to New Zealand 431/6 dec (Tom Latham 154, BJ Watling 105*, Dilruwan Perera 3-114) by an innings and 65 runs.
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