Sri Lanka crawl past follow-on target against NZ

(Reuters) – New Zealand edged closer to taking a big first innings lead against Sri Lanka after reducing the tourists to 262 for seven at lunch on the third day of the first test at University Oval in Dunedin last night.

The visitors are still 169 runs behind New Zealand’s first innings of 431, with Rangana Herath on 12 from 61 balls while Dushmantha Chameera was on six at the break.

Milinda Siriwardana (35) and Herath guided Sri Lanka past the follow-on target and frustrated New Zealand’s bowlers after they had taken two early wickets.

With cold, blustery winds buffetting the ground and expected to bring rain later on Saturday the visitors resumed on 197-4 with their hopes of taking a bite out of New Zealand’s lead initially resting on Dinesh Chandimal.

However, the wicketkeeper, who had compiled a patient 83 yesterday in a 122-run partnership with Dimuth Karunaratne (84), faced just one delivery, the second of the day, from Tim Southee, which he nicked to second slip where Martin Guptill took a well-judged diving catch.

Southee then claimed his second wicket of the day when he had Kithuruwan Vithanage caught by wicketkeeper BJ Watling for 22 when the left hander chased a ball outside off immediately after he had flicked successive boundaries down to fine leg.

Siriwardana and Herath, however, picked up where their team mates left off on Friday and were content to occupy the crease before New Zealand’s pace bowlers implemented a plan of short-pitched bowling at the pair.

Herath was struck on his right hand and the helmet, while Siriwardana was caught hooking a Neil Wagner bouncer on the boundary by Doug Bracewell, who then fell over the rope to give the left-hander a six.

Wagner got his revenge two balls later when Siriwardana wafted at a delivery and Ross Taylor took a sharp catch.


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