New Zealand in Sri Lanka, 2 Test Series, 2019
Venue: P Sara Oval, Colombo
Date: 22 August-26 August, 2019
RR: 1.73 | New Zealand beat Sri Lanka by an innings and 65 runs
We're done with the Test series! But before New Zealand head back home, they will be playing a 3-match T20I series against Sri Lanka. The first one is on Sunday, 1st September, at 1900 local (1330 GMT) in Pallekele. Do join us for that. Cheers!
Victorious New Zealand skipper, Kane Williamson smiles and says that they lost the toss while replying to what they did differently from Galle. Calls it a terrific series and feels they deserve to share it. Tells that it's a great effort to push for victory on the final day and come out on top. Mentions that light is always a factor here and admits that's why they were getting a bit anxious also. Terms it an outstanding effort from his batters who scored at a rate which allowed them to move this game forward. States that it was a brilliant collective effort along with some individual brilliance. Tells that their bowlers did well in UAE as well and is glad that they got wickets at key moments. Further says that everyone will gain things personally and as a group, general growth is important. Pleased to get some points in Test Championship. Signs off by saying that he is looking forward to taking some time off.
Sri Lankan skipper, Dimuth Karunaratne starts by saying that it was a good wicket for batting and their first innings total wasn't enough. Feels that they needed more partnerships but kept on losing wickets. Mentions about Dhananjaya's batting and counts it as a positive. States that once the batsmen get a start, they need to carry on just like Latham and Watling did. Wants his team to get more consistent.
BJ WATLING IS THE MAN OF THE SERIES! He scored 183 runs across two matches and played a couple of crucial knocks. There is no interview taken.
TOM LATHAM GETS THE MAN OF THE MATCH AWARD! He says that it's nice to contribute and partnerships with BJ Watling was really nice. Tells that as a batting unit, they wanted to build partnerships and he is glad that they got it. Smiles and says that the conditions here are a lot different and once again adds that he is happy to contribute. On his catch to dismiss Dickwella, Latham replies that he anticipated that shot and was lucky also as it hit Niroshan's arm-guard and slowed down. Praises his bowlers for picking all the wickets and setting up this win.
Test cricket is going through a purple patch! We are witnessing some enthralling performances worldwide and this victory for New Zealand, fighting on the final day, not just Sri Lanka but also the weather, is a cherry on the cake. They have shown that they can compete in the subcontinent conditions and have only grown since their series win against Pakistan in the U.A.E. For Sri Lanka, they should have never lost this match and series but a defensive mindset cost them on the final day. Maybe, had they played their natural self, the result could have been different. Kudos to the Kiwi bowlers for their efforts. Their pacers and spinners, both, looked threatening and left their impact.
The star of the show for New Zealand has to be Tom Latham. His enterprising century set it up for the visiting team and one cannot undermine the contributions of BJ Watling and Colin de Grandhomme. On stop-start days due to plenty of rain interruptions, it was not easy for anyone and that's why these knocks from Latham, Watling and de Grandhomme were extra special. After earning a good lead this morning, the onus was on their bowlers to do some magic. They initiated superbly and reduced the Lankan team to half in no time. Karunaratne and Dickwella fought for some time but that wasn't enough. Dickwella did frustrate the Black Caps along with Suranga Lakmal for 107 balls but the visitors hung in there and eventually pulled out a memorable win, their biggest against Sri Lanka.
New Zealand have done it! It looked like an impossible task at the start of Day 5 but they have planned out a brilliant victory to level the Test series. Sri Lanka will be deeply disappointed with their batting efforts on the final day and this loss also breaks the winning streak for Dimuth Karunaratne as captain. This is how the ICC World Test Championship table looks like now - India (60), New Zealand (60), Sri Lanka (60), Australia (32) and England (32).
Lahiru Kumara is the last batsman for Sri Lanka.
Ajaz Patel (18-3-30-1) is back into the attack, replacing Somerville.
Lasith Embuldeniya is the new batsman.
Time for some pace! Trent Boult (11-6-12-1) is once again unleashed into the attack. New Zealand in desperate need of a breakthrough. This partnership has now negotiated 98 balls.
We're back! No rain so far. Now that's a positive news, if you are a New Zealand fan. Sri Lanka are on the back foot, needing to bat out the entire session with 3 wickets in the bag. The men concerned walk out to the centre. William Somerville to continue...
... DAY 5, FINAL SESSION ...
32 overs, 55 runs and 2 wickets! That was the story of the afternoon session as Sri Lanka managed to hang in. The first-hour post Lunch was safely negotiated by Karunaratne and Dickwella but then the Lankan skipper was dismissed by a gem from Southee. Niroshan has curbed his aggressive instinct and has so far succeeded by adopting a calmer approach. With just three wickets remaining, it's all up to him to take the maximum strike and earn a draw for the home team. Another 36 overs left in the day and with the rain gods knocking on the door, it's going to be an exciting finish. Do join us in a short while.
More close-in fielders coming in as Suranga Lakmal is on strike.
Change at both ends. William Somerville (12-4-25-1) is back on as well.
Trent Boult gets a breather. Ajaz Patel is inserted back into the attack. 11-2-21-1, so far.
Oh no! Not a good news if you are a New Zealand fan but might come as a poetry to your ears if you are supporting Sri Lanka. It is getting dark here, indicating that rain might grace us with its presence once again.
Short leg in place. There are fielders in the deep on the leg side for a mistimed pull shot.
Suranga Lakmal is the new man in. He has the ability to hang around and it was his knock which proved vital in the 1st Test.
Field comes up. They want to keep Dickwella on strike and bowl a full next over at Dilruwan.
A rip-roaring yorker by Trent Boult. It's right in the blockhole and it seems that Dilruwan has failed to dig it out. Boult roars in appeal but the umpire shakes his head. The Kiwis go for the DRS. Is pitching an issue here? Oh yes, the Ball Tracker shows that it has pitched outside leg. Terrific decision from Michael Gough.
Dilruwan Perera is the new batsman.
Tim Southee gets one ball to swing back in sharply and it pings Dimuth Karunaratne on the pads. His bat was hiding behind the front pad, indicating that he was not offering any shot. The appeal is made and the finger has gone up. Dimuth takes the DRS but the Ball Tracker is of no help for him. Hitting the stumps, the Lankan skipper will have to depart.
Tim Southee (8-4-12-0) is back for his third spell. There is a shortish backward square leg in place. The expected plan is some short-pitch bowling.
Physio pays a visit to the Sri Lankan skipper. Magic spray is sprinkled on the affected area. All will be well soon. It's called magic spray for a reason. Dimuth is once again battle ready after receiving the treatment and the action resumes...
Change in the field. Mid-wicket drops back.
Drinks break. First hour after Lunch has been safely negotiated by the pair of Karunaratne and Dickwella. Both have shown good temperament to deal whatever the Kiwis have thrown at them. It's a really testing pitch so they cannot afford to relax. All the Black Caps need is one breakthrough and they will enter into the tail. Can this batting duo survive the next hour also?
As expected, Trent Boult has been unleashed into the attack. He was exceptional in his first spell, 5-3-2-1!
It appears that Trent Boult will be in action soon. He is seen shadow practicing and visualizing how the batsman will be playing and what he needs to do.
Tim Southee is back into the attack. 5-2-9-0, so far from him. Two slips and a gully for him.
Caught at first slip! The finger is raised. New Zealand are celebrating. But... Dimuth Karunaratne wants to refer it. He believes he has not edged it. Ultra Edge is used. His bat and front pad are very close to each other. But it's quite evident that the ball has missed the inside edge and has gone behind off the pads. No need to check for the lbw as the impact is very well outside off. Good use of the review, Karunaratne survives.
Ajaz Patel to continue from the other end.
We are back for the second session. Dimuth Karunaratne and Niroshan Dickwella walk out to resume the fight of Sri Lanka's survival. For New Zealand it will be William Somerville to bowl the first over of the session.
... Day 5, Afternoon Session ...
So with just 5 wickets to play with, without a doubt New Zealand are on the ascendancy and will hope, unlike the past 4 days, rain does not come to spoil the party. Sri Lanka, on the other hand, will be hoping that the two out in the middle fight it out and they won't mind a little bit of assistance from the rain gods. What will happen? Join us after the break to find out.
At times batting with a defensive mindset leads to a negative mentality which in turn puts the side's back against the wall. That is exactly what has happened to the Sri Lankan batsmen here. They came out with an approach to just keep the balls out. They hardly tried to score which let the Kiwis off the hook. Poor calling, rash shot selection and some brilliant bowling have brought about a serious downfall of the Lankan batting. In a match where draw was looking inevitable, it looks like we will have a result. The positive for Sri Lanka is their skipper, Dimuth Karunaratne and wicketkeeper, Niroshan Dickweela are out in the middle and can bank on them to take them out of this mess. How fit the skipper is? Only time will tell.
New Zealand needed early wickets and they started off from the very first over, courtesy of very good fielding sprinkled with some amateur running. From there on the bowlers kept building pressure. 5 bowlers were used by Williamson in the first session and barring Southee everyone has a wicket to his name. They have kept Sri Lanka on the back foot and have sent half the side back to the pavilion.
Outstanding session for the Black Caps! Both with the bat and with the ball they have completely outdone the hosts. They played just about 5 overs today and yet managed to outscore Sri Lanka who have played 23 overs.
It's time for Dimuth Karunaratne to revive Sri Lanka's innings. He looks fit and fine as he joins Dickwella in the middle. Big task ahead of this last recognized batting pair.
Change in bowling! In comes William Somerville to bowl his offies. Good move with a left-hander in the middle.
Niroshan Dickwella walks in next to bat. A slip, leg slip and short leg in place. Those wondering why Dimuth Karunaratne hasn't come out to bat yet. Well, he was off the field on entire Day 4 due to some internal injury. Hence, he is allowed to bat either at the the fall of the fifth wicket or after waiting for two hours from the start of the innings.
Slight halt in play! Physio is out in the centre to address Kusal Mendis' left leg. Maybe, Kusal has hurt his ankle. The affected area is being taped.
The centurion of the first innings, Dhananjaya de Silva arrives in the middle with Sri Lanka in a spot of bother.
Colin de Grandhomme is on now.
Drinks Break! After initial hiccups, Sri Lanka are calming their nerves slowly here. Mathews and Mendis are fighting it out in the middle. One expected the hosts to play slow and they have done exactly that. New Zealand have got two but will now need to find a way to get rid of this stand.
Spin time. Ajaz Patel is the first bowling change of this innings.
Angelo Mathews walks in next at number 4 with Sri Lanka in early trouble.
Tim Southee to share the new cherry from the opposite end.
Kusal Mendis is the number 3 batsman.
Direct from Ajaz Patel at the non-striker's end! Lahiru Thirimanne is the batsman in question. He looks gone for all money. The replays roll in and confirm the same.