New-Zealand Still in Command at Christchurch But Port Elizabeth Game Almost Washed Off

New Zealand v Sri Lanka - CricketAfter Sri Lanka succeeded in polishing off the New Zealand tail on second day morning, they succumbed to the fiery bowling spell from the Kiwi seamers. The quartet of Trent Boult, Tim Southee, James Neesham and Neil Wagner ensured the Sri Lankan slide and by tea Lanka were bowled out for 138 in their first innings. Following on, Sri Lanka ended the second day at a very creditable 84/0. On day 3, Sri Lanka opener Dimuth Karunaratne scored his maiden test century and other batsmen carried the third day until the score read 293/5. As the test match goes to the fourth day, Sri Lanka are still 10 runs behind New Zealand. With only five wickets remaining in the second innings, they will find it very difficult to save the test despite some brilliant individual effort from their captain Angelo Mathews. At Port Elizabeth, the second day’s play lasted for just six overs and so much water had seeped on the ground that no further play was possible.

Despite facing a mammoth 429/7 on second day morning, Sri Lanka bowlers did not allow the score to swell any further. Skipper Mathews, who had accounted for BJ Watling in the last over on the first day, came up with the first wicket on day 2 as well. After New Zealand added just one run to their overnight score, Mathews bowled Tim Southee for a duck. Then Suranga Lakmal took the remaining two wickets in the 86th over of the innings. With his fourth ball, Lakmal found the edge of Neil Wagner’s bat that flew to gully, where debutant Tharindu held an easy catch. The fifth was a no ball, after which Lakmal consumed new man Trent Boult, who edged the ball to wicketkeeper Prasanna Jayawardane. New Zealand ended their first innings at 441 all out.

When Sri Lanka came on to bat, they found the Kiwi bowlers too hot to handle. In Trent Boult’s first over of the innings, Dimuth Karunaratne found himself defending on the wrong line as the ball came back instead of swinging away. He took the ball on his pads and was immediately given out. Boult and his team-mates celebrated his 100th wicket in test cricket. A little later, Boult struck again. In his next over, Kaushal Silva had no time to deal with a sharp in-swinger that was on middle stump. After the umpire declared him out, Silva asked for the referral, which supported the Umpire’s decision. Boult got his third wicket in a row in the 9th over and this time, it was the big man Kumara Sangakkara. The batsman drove as the ball swung away and succeeded only in edging it to third slip, where Tim Southee snapped a good diving catch. 15/3 was not the answer to 441/10. New Zealand applied pressure and got the fourth and fifth wickets in the 26th over bowled by Tim Southee, who found outer edges of Lahiru Thirimanne and Niroshan Dickwella. Angelo Mathews was the only batsman, who played sensibly but he ran out of partners, before he himself fell as the seventh wicket at 105. After that it was just a matter of time and Sri Lanka were bowled out for a paltry 138, 303 runs behind New Zealand. Brendon McCullum forced the follow on and Sri Lankan openers came out again. Surprisingly, they batted much better in the second innings and ended the second day’s play at 84/0.

On the third day, Sri Lanka carried on with confidence, despite losing Kaushal Silva and Sangakkara in the early overs. Karunaratne was a picture of determination as he avoided all edgy shots. He didn’t mind the drop in scoring rate as staying at the wicket was preferable to anything else. With Thirimanne, he added 87 for the third wicket and forged out another 96-run partnership with captain Mathews. In the process, Karunaratne completed his maiden test century. He was the fourth Sri Lanka wicket to fall at 277, after staying at the crease for nearly 500 minutes and facing 363 deliveries. Sri Lanka ended the day at 293/5 with debutant Thirindu Kaushal and Angelo Mathews as not out batsmen.

At Port Elizabeth, only 6 overs’ play was possible on the second day of the second test between South Africa and the West Indies with the day being highlighted by century from Faf du Plessis. The batsman faced only two deliveries from Jerome Taylor. Of the first, Plessis scored his Fourth test hundred, when he flicked the ball behind square leg but he was out next ball as edged it to keeper. Rain stopped play, whch was officially called off at 5 PM with South Africa on 289/3.

R K Gupta

R K Gupta

Mr. RK Gupta has been a prolific Kridangan writer on major international sport-events for last two years. Basically a Mechanical Engineer and Administrative Management Post Graduate, Mr. Gupta took to blog-writing as a hobby after his retirement in 2011. He graduated to full-time sports-writing after joining Kridangan.com in 2013. Most of Mr. Gupta’s posts are topical and analytical in nature; completely distinct from usual media reports. His narration on popular sports-events lends uniqueness to the reporting and makes it enjoyable for global sports readership.
R K Gupta

R K Gupta

Mr. RK Gupta has been a prolific Kridangan writer on major international sport-events for last two years. Basically a Mechanical Engineer and Administrative Management Post Graduate, Mr. Gupta took to blog-writing as a hobby after his retirement in 2011. He graduated to full-time sports-writing after joining Kridangan.com in 2013. Most of Mr. Gupta’s posts are topical and analytical in nature; completely distinct from usual media reports. His narration on popular sports-events lends uniqueness to the reporting and makes it enjoyable for global sports readership.

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