NZ on brink of sec­ond test win against Sri Lanka

Stabroek News Sunday - - STABROEK SPORT -

WELLING­TON, (Reuters) - Con­certed pres­sure from New Zealand’s bowl­ing at­tack pushed them to the brink of vic­tory in the sec­ond test against Sri Lanka at Ha­gley Oval in Christchurch yes­ter­day.

Sri Lanka, chas­ing an im­prob­a­ble 660 for vic­tory, were 231 for six at stumps on the fourth day, with Dil­ruwan Per­era (22) and Su­ranga Lak­mal (16) set to re­sume to­day need­ing to bat the en­tire day to save the match and se­ries.

The first game in the two-match se­ries ended in a damp draw in Welling­ton last week.

Sri Lanka had been set the tar­get late on Fri­day af­ter Tom Latham (176) and Henry Ni­cholls (162 not out) drove New Zealand’s sec­ond in­nings to 585 for four de­clared.

The tourists lost two early wick­ets in their re­sponse but had re­sumed yes­ter­day on 24 for two with cap­tain Di­nesh Chandi­mal on 14 and Kusal Mendis on six.

De­spite a solid start, their hopes of sav­ing the test ef­fec­tively ended in the ses­sion be­fore tea with the dis­missal of Mendis and an in­jury to An­gelo Mathews.

Mendis, who helped save the first test with Mathews with an un­bro­ken 274-run part­ner­ship, ap­peared well set to re­peat the dose with Chandi­mal on Satur­day as they thwarted NewZealand for the en­tire first ses­sion.

How­ever, the 23-year-old Mendis, who joined In­dia cap­tain Vi­rat Kohli as the only play­ers to sur­pass 1,000 test runs in 2018, fell af­ter lunch for 67 to a su­perb div­ing catch by Matt Henry at mid-off.

The way in which the New Zealan­ders mobbed the sub­sti­tute fielder showed how much they val­ued the wicket, which ended a 117-run part­ner­ship be­tween Mendis and Chandi­mal.

Mathews, who top scored with 33 not out in Sri Lanka’s first in­nings of 104, looked like he would be even more dif­fi­cult to re­move than Mendis be­fore he pulled up af­ter com­plet­ing a run and im­me­di­ately clutched at his left ham­string.

He re­ceived treat­ment on the field but was clearly ham­pered and could do noth­ing but play from the crease and hop when Chandi­mal called him through for a run.

The for­mer cap­tain did not re­turn af­ter the tea break and was ex­pected to have scans later yes­ter­day, al­though it is doubt­ful he will bat to­day.

(l-r) RHTGG cap­tain Shawn Pereira and YWCC skip­per Suresh Dhanai

Tom Latham

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