New Zealand bowlers continued their ruthless aggression against Sri Lankan batters on Day 3 of the second Test match at Basin Reserve.
Sri Lanka resumed their innings with a score of 26/2, trailing by 554 runs, with unbeaten knocks of Dimuth Karunaratne (16)* and Prabath Jayasuriya (4)*.
Sri Lanka was in a dire need of a big partnership but the Kiwi bowlers had some other plans in store for them. Tim Southee struck the first blow with the wicket of the nightwatchman Jayasuriya for 4(17). With a score of 27/3, signs of tension and nervousness became visible on the faces of the entire Sri Lankan camp.
As Angelo Matthews walked towards the crease the entire New Zealand team could smell blood. In a span of three overs, the hosts picked up another wicket. Angelo Mathews became the second victim of Matt Henry as he walked back to the pavilion with a score of 1(10). Dinesh Chandimal came in to steady the sinking ship of the Sri Lankan team. His partnership with Dimuth Karunaratne certainly rekindled Sri Lanka's hope of making a comeback in the first innings. However, Chandimal lost his wicket to Michael Bracewell for a score of 37(92).
This one crucial wicket was enough for New Zealand to orchestrate the final blow. Within 15 overs Sri Lanka lost their remaining wickets and during this period they were able to add just 48 runs to their tally. The visitors ended their first innings with a score of 164.
The disciplined bowling of New Zealand bowlers was one of the major reasons for the struggle of Sri Lankan batters. They constantly struck to the right line as well as length. Even though the wicket itself didn't offer much for the bowlers. The Kiwis kept their cool and patiently waited for the right moments. Matt Henry and Michael Bracewell were prime examples. They ended the first innings with three wickets each in their account.
New Zealand decided to impose a follow on. Within a few moments, Sri Lankan openers were back on the pitch to restart their innings.
But once again New Zealand managed to derail Sri Lankan innings even before it could take flight in the wide-open blue sky. Doug Bracewell drew the first blood by picking up the wicket of Oshada Fernando, who departed for a score of 5(36).
Once again Karunaratne rose to the occasion and scored a half-century. However when the skippers of both teams came face to face in the final moments of Day 3. Tim Southee stood victorious over the Sri Lankan skipper Karunaratne who walked back to the pavilion with his head down and a score of 51(83). Sri Lanka ended Day-3 with a score of 113/2 with a trail of 303 runs. Kusal Mendis and Angelo Mathews had unbeaten scores of 50(100)* and 1(40)* respectively.
Brief scores: (Kusal Mendis 50(100)*, Dimuth Karunaratne 51(83) and Tim Southee 1/9) vs Sri Lanka. (ANI)