BLACKCAPS win by 167 to level the series

New Zealand earned a brilliant 167 run win on the fifth day of the second Test against Sri Lanka to level the two match series one-all at P Sara Oval in Colombo.

Trent Boult starred on the final day with three scalps while Tim Southee and Todd Astle also picked up wickets as Sri Lanka folded for 195 shortly after tea.

Captain Ross Taylor picked up the man-of-the-match award for his tally of 216 runs, with the New Zealand skipper leading his team to a first inning total of 412 before providing the backbone for their second effort of 194 for nine.

Sri Lanka started the day on 47 for four with the aim to bat for a full day and salvage a draw.

The first session was slow going with Sri Lanka scratching together just 60 and New Zealand picking up just one wicket.   Thilan Samaraweera and Angelo Mathews had a mix-up with their running, resulting in Samaraweera being run out for seven.

Mathews and Prasanna Jayawardene remained composed to take Sri Lanka through to lunch on 107 for five.

The BLACKCAPS continued to plug away and were rewarded with two wickets in the middle session. 

Todd Astle came up with a ripper of  a delivery to remove Prasanna Jayawardene for 29.  The ball drifted, gripped, turned and bounced to feather the shoulder of the bat and hand the young leg-spinner his first Test scalp.

Suraj Randiv with next to go, caught at second slip for a duck to hand Trent Boult his second wicket. 

Angelo Mathews continued to resist, carrying Sri Lanka through to 168 for seven at tea.

With the new ball in hand, Boult struck again after tea to see the back of Nuwan Kulasekara for 18 and leave Sri Lanka battling at 168 for eight.

Southee then had Eranga caught at gully on nought, before Boult wrapped things up when he had  Mathews caught at second slip for 84.

Boult was the best of the New Zealand attack with three for 33, while Southee returned three for 58.

Day 4: BLACKCAPS aim for victory on final day

A gutsy half-century by Ross Taylor and brilliant bowling by Tim Southee and Doug Bracewell has given the BLACKCAPS a decent chance of victory over Sri Lanka in the second Test at Colombo.

Sri Lanka fought hard to regain some momentum but every time they looked to be making headway the New Zealanders battled back and are now left with the task of taking six more wickets to secure victory and level the series.

It was a captivating day that saw 17 wickets fall as New Zealand first rolled Sri Lanka for 244 to take a 168 first inning lead before declaring on 194 for nine. Two wickets to Tim Southee and Doug Bracewell then saw Sri Lanka struggle to 47 for four in their second inning, leaving the hosts 316 runs behind before bad light stopped play.

Second innings success came of the first ball with Southee picking up Tharanga Paranavitana LBW with the in-form fast bowler striking again in the seventh over to have Tillakaratne Dilshan caught behind for 14.

The big scalps then went to Doug Bracewell who bowling Kumar Sangakkara for 16 before getting Mahela Jayawardene to edge behind having made just five.

When New Zealand batted again, the innings started with a pacey 35 off 43 balls by Brendon McCullum before he was stumped off the bowling of Herath, while Guptill managed just 11 before being dismissed by Shaminda Eranga just before lunch, leaving New Zealand 59 for 2 with an overall lead of 227 at the break.

The game evened up after lunch with Sri Lanka taking three wickets in four balls to reduce New Zealand from 74 for two to 75 for five. 

Kane Williamson was caught at first slip for 18 while Daniel Flynn was given out LBW for a first ball duck.  Kruger van Wyk also lasted just one ball with Herath inducing an edge that was swallowed up at leg-slip.

For the second time in the match Ross Taylor was called upon to hold the innings together and did so with a magnificent 75 before being run-out.

The captain had support from Todd Astle who contributed a patient 35 and the wicket Jeetan Patel without scoring with the score on 182 for nine prompted the declaration to come shortly afterwards.

Earlier, New Zealand wrapped up the Sri Lankan innings in just 7.4 overs with Boult and Southee doing the damage and making sure they had decent lead of 168 runs.

Boult removed the overnight batsman Thilan Samaraweera, caught second slip for 76, and Suraj Randiv, trapped LBW for 39.  He also collected the wicket of Herath, superbly caught by Kane Williamson in the gully, to complete the innings with figures of four for 42.

Southee picked up Kulasekara to finish with five for 62 - his third five-wicket bag in Test cricket.

Day 4: NZ hold advantage but SL battle back

The BLACKCAPS still maintain the upper-hand despite Sri Lana showing plenty of resistance on day three of the second Test at P Sara Oval, Colombo.

Sri Lanka fought back with Thilan Samaraweera grinding out a gutsy half century to lead his team to 225 for six at stumps in reply the New Zealand’s first innings total of 412.

Samaraweera remains on 76 and is part of an unbeaten 97 stand for the seventh  wicket with Suraj Randiv who will resume tomorrow on 34 not out.

The pair came together with their team at 126 for six and struggling to avoid the follow on, however managed to eke out the required runs but are still 187 runs behind at the close of play.

Sri Lanka’s middle order made New Zealand work hard for their successes and the vistors wait until late in first session for the first break-through with Tim Southee getting Tharanga Paranavitana caught behind for 40.

New Zealand’s key strike bowler struck again in his next over to remove Angelo Mathews for 47 with much of the credit going to Martin Guptill took a blinder of a catch at second slip, leaving Sri Lanka 107 for five at lunch.

Jeetan Patel removed wicket-keeper batsman Prasanna Jayawardene for 12 but Samaraweera and Randiv safely negotiated the rest of the middle session and resisted again after tea until bad light stopped play. 

Southee has been New Zealand’s best bowler with four for 51.

Day 2: BLACKCAPS well placed on day two

Signs are encouraging at the end of day two with New Zealand building a healthy first innings total before getting three late wickets in the second Test against Sri Lanka in Colombo.

Resuming the day on 223 for two, New Zealand continued from where they left off with a disciplined approach to their batting seeing them reach 412 shortly after tea.

The new ball bowlers then had Sri Lanka early trouble, removing the ‘big three’ in the last 17 overs to see the home team trail by 369 runs at the close of play at P Sara Oval.

Tim Southee bowled beautifully to knock over Tillarkaratne Dilshan for five and then have Kumar Sangakkara caught at fine leg for a duck.

Mahela Jayawardene then edged Trent Boult to third slip for four to leave them reeling at 12 for three.

Opener Tharanga Paranavitana (9*) and Angelo Mathews (20*) safely negotiated the rest of the day and willl resume tomorrow on 43 for three.

Earlier, Kane Williamson brought up his third Test century shortly after the start of play and along with Ross Taylor added 262 runs for the third wicket.

The 22 year-old right-handed batsman resumed on 95 and was eventually trapped LBW by Rangana Herath for his highest score of 135 shortly after Taylor departed the same way for 142.

They came together after 3.5 overs and were separated in the 97th with the pair setting a New Zealand record for the highest third wicket partnership abroad.

Despite a double breakthrough by spinner Herath, New Zealand were strongly placed at lunch, having added 75 runs in the first session with Kruger van Wyk the other wicket to fall, bowled by Dilshan for a duck.

Herath struck again after the break with debutant Todd Astle becoming the wiley spinners third LBW victim for two.

Doug Bracewell was prepared to play his shots and along with Daniel Flynn put on 46 but the hard hitting all-rounder went for one big shot too many and was caught on the boundary for 24.

Herath had his fourth when Tim Southee was bowled for 15 with New Zealand going to tea at 396 for eight.

The spinner got rid of Flynn for 53, again trapped LBW, with Boult bowled after facing just two balls having Herath finish the innings with outstanding  figures of six for 103.  Jeetan Patel remained unbeaten on 25.

Day 1: Taylor’s century boosts NZ on day one

Ross Taylor hit a fine century to underpin a solid first day for the BLACKCAPS on day one of the second Test against Sri Lanka in Colombo.

Kane Williamson supported with a patient 95 not out as the visitors closed on 223 for two before the rain stopped play early.

Taylor remains unbeaten on 119 and along with Williamson put on 209 for the third wicket to lay the foundation for a good first innings total for New Zealand.

It is the highest third wicket stand by any country at P Sara Oval, surpassing a 163 run stand set by Vinod Kambli and Sachin Tendulkar in the 1993-94 season.

New Zealand, batting first after winning the toss, made a shaky start with both openers departing inside four overs.

Martin Guptill nicked one to first slip for four while Brendon McCullum has every right to feel aggrieved after edging a ball into his pads only to be adjudged LBW for the same score.

The early wickets brought Williamson and Taylor together after 17 minutes and the pair played positively against the new-ball bowlers to end the first session on 96 for two.

The introduction of spin along with defensive field placements slowed the run rate in the second session with the visitors going to tea at 175 with the pair faced just 19 overs in the final session before poor weather truncated the day.

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