DAY FIVE: BLACKCAPS 221 and 524-5dec (Kane Williamson 242*, BJ Watling 142*, Hamish Rutherford 40, Nuwan Pradeep 3-57) bet Sri Lanka 356 and 196 (Lahiru Thirimanne, Mark Craig 4-53) by 193 runs at the Basin Reserve, Wellington.
The BLACKCAPS have recorded an emphatic 193 run victory in the second Test against Sri Lanka at the Basin Reserve, winning the series 2-0 overall.
After a fairytale day four in which Kane Williamson (242*) and BJ Watling (142*) set a world record partnership, the home side capatilised on the final day and never gave Sri Lanka a sniff of their target of 390 to win.
Resuming at 45-1, night-watchman Dhammika Prasad (6) lasted 10 balls into the first session, before Trent Boult found the edge to send him on his way. The next wicket was the key one though.
An uncharacteristic loose shot from Kumar Sangakkara was shown to have got the slightest of edges off Boult, with Brendon McCullum making the bold call to review despite a half-hearted appeal. It was touch and go, but the third umpire reversed the decision and the BLACKCAPS took a massive step to winning the Test.
Two further wickets fell before lunch and both were highlighted by spectacular catches. A low diving grab in the slips from Mark Craig removed opener Kaushal Silva for 50, before some incredible acrobatics from Kane Williamson in the gully sent skipper Angelo Mathews on his way.
The BLACKCAPS headed into the shed with Sri Lanka 110-5 and within touching distance of victory.
Despite a spirited 62 not out from Lahiru Thirimanne, the BLACKCAPS were able to take regular wickets in the next session as they edged towards triumph. After 72.4 overs Tim Southee brought things to a close with a yorker, rocking Nuwan Pradeep’s stumps and sending the BLACKCAPS into celebrations.
The BLACKCAPS bowling attack had backed up Williamson and Watling’s effort with the bat perfectly and the side was rewarded with a memorable win. Mark Craig was the pick of the bowlers, taking full advantage of the fifth day Basin pitch and finishing with figures of 4-53.
The BLACKCAPS sparkling form in the Test arena sees them move to fifth in the rankings and within striking distance of Pakistan and England in third and fourth. Having gone six Test series undefeated in a row, Mike Hesson’s men are beginning to be seen as a force to be reckoned with, no matter who the opposition.
The focus shifts to the ODIs and the World Cup now, with the highly anticipated naming of the team to take place tomorrow night at Hagley Oval.
DAY FOUR: BLACKCAPS 221 and 524-5 (Kane Williamson 242*, BJ Watling 142*, Hamish Rutherford 40, Nuwan Pradeep 3-57) lead Sri Lanka 356 all out and 45-1 by 345 runs at the Basin Reserve, Wellington.
The Basin Reserve holds a special place in all BLACKCAPS fans’ hearts and on day four of the second Test against Sri Lanka another unforgettable chapter unfolded.
A Kane Williamson double-century (242 not out) and ton from BJ Watling (142 not out) saw the BLACKCAPS pile on a world-record 365 runs for the sixth wicket, before finally declaring at 524-5.
Having been under pressure yesterday at 159-5, the heroics from Williamson and Watling have made the BLACKCAPS firm favorites heading into day five tomorrow. Sri Lanka now have a target of 390 to win and went to stumps at 45-1 – still 345 from an unlikely victory.
During eight fruitless hours in the field, Sri Lanka were unable to match the sheer determination of the BLACKCAPS duo, who made the visitors pay for missed opportunities.
Williamson was dropped on 104, as Rananga Herath drew the edge, but the keeper couldn’t hang on to a tough chance, despite a couple of grabs at it.
Williamson and Watling added 72 runs in the first session and carried on after lunch, with Williamson bringing up his 150 and the 200 run partnership with a sweep to the backward square fence for four.
The maturity and application from both men was admirable – they were always up for the quick singles that were available, and ran hard to turn ones into twos. There was some fine stroke play also, with Williamson’s elegant cover drive on display regularly, as well as Watling’s cuts and pulls.
Watling, who had played patiently his entire innings, brought up his century with a quick single to mid off, diving to make his ground and complete the milestone from 270 balls.
Williamson then passed his personal high score of 192, made against Pakistan just a few weeks ago, bringing up his maiden double century from 394 balls.
He got another life on 233 when the keeper missed a stumping chance but proceeded to whack the next ball for six over mid wicket to bring up the 500 run mark.
The next milestone was when the pair passed Watling and Brendon McCullum’s world record 6th wicket partnership against all comers, and BJ Watling became the only man in Test history to share the top two partnerships for any wicket.
The partnership ended at 365 when the declaration came – it left Sri Lanka with slim hopes of saving the series and the BLACKCAPS within sight of a draw for the match or even victory. Should they do either, they’ll rise up to fifth in the Test rankings.
Sri Lanka faced 17 overs for before stumps and looked strong until a diving Hamish Rutherford catch gave the BLACKCAPS the wicket of opener Dimuth Karunaratne.
Nine wickets remain between the BLACKCAPS and an emphatic 2-0 series win.
DAY THREE: BLACKCAPS 221 and 253-5 (Kane Williamson 80*, BJ Watling 49*, Hamish Rutherford 40, Nuwan Pradeep 3-57) lead Sri Lanka 356 all out by 118 runs at the Basin Reserve, Wellington.
Sri Lanka are probably ahead at the end of day three but it’s close. Kane Williamson (80) and BJ Watling (48) are not out, having made a crucial 94 runs together, frustrating the Sri Lankans in the process. There’s still work to be done, but the BLACKCAPS will sleep easier with a lead of 118 and these two set to resume in the morning.
The opening pair of Hamish Rutherford and Tom Latham continued their good work late on day two in the morning. The former survived an early scare in the second over of the day when a ball from Dhammika Prasad brushed his glove on the way through to the keeper, only to be called a no-ball, when replays showed the bowler's heel was behind the line.
Tom Latham and Rutherford were making good progress, surviving the first hour intact. But from 75-0, the BLACKCAPS would fall to 79-3. Rutherford went on 40 slashing hard at Nuwan Pradeep, with the ball sailing down to Dinesh Chandimal at third man, who took the catch.
Latham was next to go, reaching for one from Pradeep, to be comfortably caught behind the wicket. Ross Taylor was undone by a Rananga Herath delivery that beat him through the gate and took out the top of off for no runs.
Brendon McCullum and Kane Williamson combined for 43 before McCullum was rapped on the pad by a Dhammika Prasad delivery that shaped in – he was given out and it was sent upstairs for a review, which showed the ball crashing into the stumps and he had to go.
Crucially, Williamson was dropped on 29, offering Herath a return catch into his chest, which he failed to hang on to.
Neesham and Williamson were putting together a promising partnership, which was brought to an end when Pradeep got a ball to hit Neesham on the pads. The umpire’s decision was not out, but an astute DRS appeal showed all red lights, and Neesham was on his way for 19.
BJ Watling then joined Williamson for the day’s most significant partnership – the pair made batting on the day three pitch look comfortable, if not easy, with bad balls being dismissed to the boundary regularly.
Williamson was dropped again on 60, hooking Prasad to fine leg, where Pradeep had a couple of attempts at catching, only to spill it on the grass through his legs.
As the overs remaining ticked down the focus was undoubtedly on both men being there at the close. Which they achieved with a fine display of patience and application. The BLACKCAPS take a lead of 118 into day four, with slightly murkier conditions forecast, there’s still plenty to come at the Basin yet.
DAY TWO: BLACKCAPS 221 and 22-0 trail Sri Lanka 356 all out (Kumar Sangakkara 203, Dinesh Chandimal 67, Jimmy Neesham 3-42) by 113 at the Basin Reserve, Wellington.
Sri Lanka had the best of day two, lead by a magnificent Kumar Sangakkara double century. He frustrated the BLACKCAPS bowlers for most of the day, helping his team to a 135 run lead at the end of the innings. Tom Latham and Hamish Rutherford were there at the close after negotiating a tricky 11 overs late in the day.
Under sunnier skies, the quick wickets the BLACKCAPS were after failed to materialise in the first session. In fact, the wicket-falling-carnage of day one seemed like a distant memory as Kumar Sangakkara and Dinesh Chandimal made the most of improved batting conditions.
It was slow but effective stuff - the pair added just 81 runs by lunch to help them slowly put themselves ahead in the match.
Tim Southee (1-87), Trent Boult (2-75), Doug Bracewell (3-93) and Mark Craig (1-55) all had lengthy spells at the bowling crease, with Jimmy Neesham playing the 'golden arm' role with 3-42. It was the all-rounder who made the breakthrough, coaxing a feathery edge from Chandimal (67) to break the 130 run partnership and open up an end.
The situation brought out the best in Sangakkara, who treated the Basin crowd to a series of balletic cover drives and powerful pulls, as he brought up his century from 191 balls.
Dhammika Prasad went for 11 to Neesham caught Watling also, and Rangana Herath went caught behind to Boult for 15 after a lengthy DRS viewing.
The late afternoon belonged to Sangakkara, who put on a show for the crowd to bring up his eleventh Test double hundred with a wonderful drive through the covers. He had all the answers to the BLACKCAPS questions, as they tried to rotate him from the strike and expose the tail.
It would take something special to end the innings, and it was Boult at point who produced it, leaping high to reel in a spectacular Basin catch, which is fast becoming his stock in trade. Sangakkara walked off to a standing ovation for 203, having become the non-New Zealander to score the most runs at the Basin Reserve in the process.
That left a tricky eleven overs for the BLACKCAPS to bat in the evening. They did so without losing a wicket, with Hamish Rutherford getting through early nerves and Tom Latham showing typical composure. Herath got a late afternoon bowl, but was unable to make the breakthrough.
The BLACKCAPS end the day 113 behind and as the old saying goes, the first session on day three will be crucial. The match has settled into a more even tempo after the frantic day one, and it’s up to the home team to bat some time on day three.
DAY ONE: BLACKCAPS 221 all out (Kane Williamson 69, Hamish Rutherford 37, AN Pradeep 4-63) lead Sri Lanka 78-5 (Kumar Sangakkara 33*, Doug Bracewell 3-23) by 143 runs at the Basin Reserve, Wellington.
Fifteen wickets tumbled one day one at the Basin - but by the time the dust settled, the BLACKCAPS found themselves 143 in front, with five Sri Lankan wickets to get on day two. After watching the batsmen lose six wickets for 54 runs, the home bowlers put the heat on late in the day to arguably put themselves ahead at the close.
Seemingly inevitably, Angelo Matthews called the toss correctly and the BLACKCAPS found themselves batting first on a good old Basin green top. Neil Wager was the surprise exclusion from the BLACKCAPS starting XI, with Doug Bracewell making his international comeback after over a year out of the side.
The talk was around whether the pitch held as many demons as the green tinge promised - but Hamish Rutherford looked at home on the surface, producing a number of fine drives for four, and was soon racing along at a run a ball.
Tom Latham made six from 21 balls before prodding outside off to RAS Lakmal and was caught by HAPW Jayawardene behind the stumps. He was followed by Rutherford in similar fashion in the 17th over for 37, after he’d done the hard work to get in.
The BLACKCAPS went to lunch well placed at 92-3, but Sri Lanka immediately seized the upper hand. Ross Taylor (35), Brendon McCullum (0) and Kane Williamson, who had looked in fine touch for 69, all lost their wickets by playing on to balls that were not quite there for the cut.
In the process, the BLACKCAPS went from 141-3 to 195-9 when Tim Southee was dismissed for a duck not long after tea. Trent Boult joined Doug Bracewell to make a breezy 26 partnership for the last wicket with a range of innovative shot making, before Bracewell was bowled by KTGD Prasad for 16, denying AN Pradeep (4-63) his five wicket bag.
The BLACKCAPS then got a pop with the ball – Boult worked up a head of steam and was first to strike in the ninth over, getting FDM Karunaratne to slash at a wide-ish ball, where he was caught low by Jimmy Neesham in the slips for 16.
Doug Bracewell then bowled JK Silva for five, after the opener played a ball hard into the ground, only to see it pop up and collect the top of middle stump. Bracewell went on to pick up HDRL Thirimanne for a duck, caught by McCullum at mid off for a duck, and HAPW Jayawardene from the last ball of the day, caught by Jimmy Neesham in the slips.
In between, Tim Southee removed the dangerous Angelo Matthews for 15, caught behind by BJ Watling.
The big Basin crowd of just under 5000 that packed in on a breezy Wellington day that started cloudy before brightening, also got to see Kumar Sangakkara score his 12,000th Test run to warm applause.
The BLACKCAPS resume day two with their noses arguably in front, and keen to attack Sangakkara, his batting partners and expose the tail.