(Reuters) – Dimuth Karunaratne stroked his way to a patient seventh test half century and combined with Dinesh Chandimal to rebuild Sri Lanka’s first innings after they were rocked by two early wickets from New Zealand’s pace bowlers.
Sri Lanka were 103 for two at tea on the second day of the first test at University Oval in Dunedin, with Karunaratne on 59, having taken 136 balls to get to 50, brought up with an elegant straight drive off Neil Wagner for his fifth boundary.
Chandimal was on 31 after he had joined the opener with Sri Lanka in trouble at 29-2 in the first session yesterday after they had dismissed New Zealand for 431.
The hosts’ bowlers were generally disciplined with their line and length, providing some uneasy moments for the pair, which resulted in a relatively pedestrian run rate of 2.15 per over.
Wicketkeeper BJ Watling had taken two catches before lunch with Kusal Mendis (eight) and Udara Jayasundera (one) both dismissed to leave their side facing a massive deficit.
Karunaratne and Chandimal, the last two truly specialist batsmen in the side, were then content to drop anchor against the four-pronged New Zealand pace attack and scored just nine more runs in the five remaining overs before lunch.
Nuwan Pradeep had earlier mopped up the New Zealand tail by capturing the last two wickets as the hosts were bowled out for 431, having added 22 runs to their overnight total.
Doug Bracewell was the last man out for a career-best 47, when he was trapped lbw by Pradeep, who finished with figures of 4-112.
On the first day, opener Martin Guptill (156), Kane Williamson (88) and captain Brendon McCullum, who belted a scintillating 75 off 57 balls, had provided the majority of New Zealand’s runs.
Guptill and Williamson set the platform then captain McCullum provided the fireworks. Guptill, who had received a tacit warning he may have been playing for his place in the side, struck his third test century, while Williamson fell just short of his 13th as they combined in a record 173-run second wicket partnership.
“The way we batted throughout and the way we were able to rotate the strike and get the strike rate going was really pleasing,” Guptill told reporters of the partnership. McCullum, who is likely to be playing his final test in his home city before his expected retirement after the World Twenty20 in March, then smashed Sri Lanka’s bowlers around the picturesque University Oval to accelerate his side’s innings.
McCullum scored 75 runs from 57 balls in a little under an hour before his side reached the close of the first day on 409-8, with Doug Bracewell on 32 and Neil Wagner yet to score after the visitors took six wickets in the final session.
New Zealand 1st innings (Overnight: 409-8)
M. Guptill c Chandimal b Mathews 156
T. Latham c&b Lakmal 22
K. Williamson c Karunaratne b Pradeep 88
R. Taylor lbw b Pradeep 8
B. McCullum c Vithanage b Siriwardana 75
M. Santner c Chandimal b Chameera 12
B. Watling c Vithanage b Chameera 5
D. Bracewell lbw b Pradeep 47
T. Southee c Siriwardana b Lakmal 2
N. Wagner c Jayasundara b Pradeep 7
T. Boult not out 0
Extras (b-4 lb-3 nb-1 w-1) 9
Total (all out, 96.1 overs) 431
Fall of wickets: 1-56 T. Latham,2-229 K. Williamson,3-245 R. Taylor,4-334 B. McCullum,5-359
T. Southee,9-426 N. Wagner,10-431 D. Bracewell
Bowling S. Lakmal 16 – 1 – 69 – 2 N. Pradeep 23.1 – 2 – 112 – 4 A. Mathews 9 – 2 – 28 – 1 D. Chameera 20 – 2 – 112 – 2(w-1) R. Herath 19 – 1 – 46 – 0 U. Jayasundara 5 – 0 – 33 – 0(nb-1) M. Siriwardana 4 – 0 – 24 – 1 Sri
Lanka 1st innings
D. Karunaratne not out 21
K. Mendis c Watling b Boult 8
U. Jayasundara c Watling b Wagner 1
D. Chandimal not out 6
Extras (b-1 lb-1) 2
Total (for 2 wickets, 18 overs) 38
Fall of wickets: 1-19 K. Mendis,2-29
To bat: A. Mathews, K. Vithanage, M. Siriwardana, R. Herath, D. Chameera, N. Pradeep, S. Lakmal Bowling T. Boult 6 – 2 – 16 – 1 T. Southee 5 – 1 – 6 – 0 D. Bracewell 4 – 2 – 5 – 0 N. Wagner 3 – 0 – 9 – 1
Referees Umpire: Richard Kettleborough
Umpire: Nigel Llong
TV umpire: Paul Reiffel
Match referee: David Boon