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    Karunaratne ton holds off New Zealand

    December 29, 2014

    New Zealand 441 (McCullum 195, Neesham 85) and 107 for 2 beat Sri Lanka 138 (Boult 3-25, Wagner 3-60) and 407 (Karunaratne 152, Boult 4-100, Southee 4-91) by eight wickets

    Trent Boult’s late strikes helped New Zealand wrest control of the first Test against Sri Lanka on Sunday (December 28), after Dimuth Karunaratne’s maiden Test century gave the visiting side a glimmer of hope on the third day in Christchurch.


    Sri Lanka had nearly erased its 303-run first innings deficit with seven wickets in hand when Boult dragged the game back in New Zealand’s favour at the Hagley Oval. He dismissed the resolute Karunaratne for 152 and Niroshan Dickwella for 4 as Sri Lanka was reduced to 293 for 5 at close of play – still trailing by 10 runs.

     

    Boult ended the day with figures of 3 for 62 while Angelo Mathews was unbeaten on 53 alongside Tharindu Kaushal (5 not out).


    Karunaratne, however, was the star of the day. Sri Lanka had lost two quick wickets in the morning session, including that of Kumar Sangakkara.


    In the first innings, Karunaratne was out for a four-ball duck, as Sri Lanka folded for 138 in response to New Zealand’s 441, and was forced to follow on. But in the second innings, he was composed as ever.


    The 26-year-old forged a third-wicket stand of 87 with Lahiru Thirimanne (25) and then was involved in a 97-run partnership with Mathews.


    Karunaratne was at the crease for a little over eight hours and faced 363 deliveries in his heroic knock, which included 17 fours.


    Karunaratne began the day on 49 with Sri Lanka at 84 without loss and reached his fifth fifty with a single off the second ball.


    At the other end, Kaushal Silva was caught behind four balls later, without adding to his overnight 33, and Kumar Sangakkara – the most prolific batsman in the world this year with 1,493 runs from 22 innings, including a 50 in each of his past nine Tests – followed soon after for 1.


    Sangakkara mustered only seven runs from his two innings against New Zealand. The last instance his aggregate in a Test was in single digits was back in December 2011.(ICC)

     

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