The run-fest at the Basin Reserve continued on day three of the 1st Test between hosts New Zealand and Sri Lanka before New Zealand set themselves up for an innings win with wickets late in the day.
By the end of it all, Sri Lanka were staring down the barrel at a thumping at the hands of a complete New Zealand outfit, unless something dramatic happens on day four.
New Zealand resuming day day three on 311/2, continued to add to the misery of the Lankan bowlers. Ross Taylor and Henry Nicholls added half centuries along with Kane Williamson who fell 9 run short of a century on day two.
But the day was all about Tom Latham as he continued to torment the hapless Sri Lankan bowling attack. Latham batted for 489 balls, over 10 hours and went on to make his career best score of 264* not out. That was not it, he became only the second New Zealander to carry his bat through a Test innings and the first to do so at home.
His knock included 21 fours and a six as he continued to hold one end up while he got good support from the other end. After Taylor and Nicholls departed making half centuries, Colin de Grandhomme made sure to entertain the crowd at the Basin Reserve with a few lusty blows. He hit 49 at almost run-a-ball pace before eventually holing out in the deep after hitting 3 sixes and 3 fours.
Latham patiently watched from the other end as he continued to milk the bowlers. The innings ended when Lahiru Kumara – Sri Lanka’s most successful bowler – had Trent Bolt caught off a fast rising short delivery but New Zealand had secured a first inning lead of 296 runs, being bowled out for 578. Kumara ended with four wicket for the visitors while Dilruwan Perera and Dhananjaya de Silva picked up two wickets apiece as Sri Lanka finally ended their misery after being out in the field for almost 158 overs.
The Sri Lankan second innings was almost identical to their first. Three quick wickets in the blink of an eye and you could sense a familiar batting collapse again.
First to go was Danushka Gunathilaka who was trapped in front by a beautiful out-swinger from Trent Boult. What was worse for Gunathilaka was the fact it was almost identical to his first innings dismissal.
A few minutes later, Tim Southee’s experience showed as he set up Dhananjaya de Silva beautifully before slipping through an off-cutter after a couple of out-swingers. De Silva fell for a duck as he saw his stumps rattled to leave Sri Lanka two down.
Another familiar dismissal followed. This time the anchor man Dimuth Karunaratne, who fell to the short ball trap in the first innings, fell to it again as he failed to keep a pull shot down off the bowling of Southee as he was caught in the deep at fine-leg.
Sri Lanka were 13/3 just like the first innings (9/3) before ending on 20/3 with Kusal Mendis and Angelo Mathews batting them to the end of day 3. They will go into day four needing a further 276 runs to avoid an innings defeat with just 7 wickets in hand.
282/10 & 259/3
578/10 & 0/0
Sri Lanka’s 1st Innings
|Danushka Gunathilaka||lbw by T Southee||1||9|
|Dimuth Karunarathne||c BJ Watling b N Wagner||79||144|
|Dhananjaya de Silva||c BJ Watling b T Southee||1||7|
|Kusal Mendis||c A Patel b T Southee||2||4|
|Angelo Mathews||c BJ Watling b T Southee||83||153|
|Dinesh Chandimal||c A Patel b T Southee||6||34|
|Niroshan Dickwella||not out||80||101|
|Dilruwan Perera||c BJ Watling b de Grandhomme||16||38|
|Suranga Lakmal||c H Nicholls b N Wagner||3||12|
|Kasun Rajitha||c BJ Watling b T Boult||2||32|
|Lahiru Kumara||c de Grandhomme b T Southee||0||8|
|Colin de Grandhomme||13||2||35||1||2.69|
New Zealand ‘s 1st Innings
|Jeet Raval||c N Dickwella b L Kumara||43||70|
|Tom Latham||not out||264||489|
|Kane Williamson||c K Rajitha b D De Silva||91||93|
|Ross Taylor||c D Karunarathne b L Kumara||50||88|
|Henry Nicholls||c K Rajitha b D Perera||50||101|
|BJ Watling||c N Dickwella b L Kumara||0||6|
|C de Grandhomme||c K Rajitha b D De Silva||49||53|
|Tim Southee||(runout) D Chandimal||6||14|
|Neil Wagner||c D De Silva b S Lakmal||0||6|
|Ajaz Patel||b D Perera||6||21|
|Trent Boult||c N Dickwella b L Kumara||11||6|
|Dhananjaya de Silva||15||0||54||2||3.60|
Sri Lanka’s 2nd Innings
|Danushka Gunathilaka||lbw by T Boult||3||17|
|Dimuth Karunarathne||c T Boult b T Southee||10||13|
|Dhananjaya de Silva||b T Southee||0||5|
|Kusal Mendis||not out||116||287|
|Angelo Mathews||not out||117||293|
|Colin de Grandhomme||13||4||24||0||1.85|
New Zealand ‘s 2nd Innings