Tim Southee top scored with 68 before becoming the BLACKCAPS third highest wicket-taker in Tests on an eventful day one against Sri Lanka at Hagley Oval.
Sri Lanka won the toss and elected to bowl first in the Test Series decider, Suranga Lakmal was the pick of the bowlers on the opening morning, taking 4-18 from 12 unchanged overs at the City End.
After losing Ross Taylor and Colin de Grandhomme early after lunch, it was left to BJ Watling and Tim Southee to launch the counter-attack.
The pair did so in contrasting styles - Watling gritted it out working singles, while Southee swung the blade to devastating effect - scoring 68 off just 65 balls before falling to a spectacular catch from Danushka Gunathilaka off Dilruwan Perera.
Eventually, the BLACKCAPS were bowled out for 178, Watling dismissed just shy of a half-century with 46 while Lakmal finished with figures of 5-54 off 19 overs.
After the innings break, Southee was at it again with the ball, taking the opening three wickets and in the process eclipsing Chris Martin as New Zealand’s third highest wicket-taker in Test cricket with 235.
Sri Lanka finished the day 88/4, still 90 runs behind the BLACKCAPS first innings total.
*The visitors have made two changes to their side with Dushmantha Chameera and Roshen Silva coming in for Kasun Rajitha and Dhananjaya de Silva respectively. Meanwhile, the BLACKCAPS side remains unchanged from the first Test.
AS IT HAPPENED...
Suranga Lakmal has two early wickets here at Hagley Oval, both openers - Raval and Latham are back in the hut. Crowd building on the bank, come and check it out if you're in Christchurch!— BLACKCAPS (@BLACKCAPS) December 25, 2018
🎫 | https://t.co/mnbSmtmpxO#NZvSL pic.twitter.com/khfJ38zexS
Lakmal claims his third of the morning as Kane Williamson feathers one behind. @OfficialSLC bowlers on top early as Henry Nicholls comes out to join Ross Taylor in the middle 🏏— BLACKCAPS (@BLACKCAPS) December 25, 2018
CARD | https://t.co/YhNC8DPej2#NZvSL pic.twitter.com/uyT1qRw2y0
Sri Lanka ‘flying high’ as we head to lunch. Tough first session for our boys but plenty of cricket left in this contest 🏏— BLACKCAPS (@BLACKCAPS) December 26, 2018
🇳🇿 51/4 - Taylor 22* | Watling 7* | Lakmal 4-18
CARD | https://t.co/YhNC8DPej2
🎫 | https://t.co/mnbSmtmpxO#NZvSL pic.twitter.com/rr88mzliE8
Back to back Test 50s in Christchurch for Tim Southee - and what an important one this is! 43 balls, 4 fours, and 3 sixes. A partnership of 83 with Watling (37*). BLACKCAPS 147-6 #NZvSL pic.twitter.com/cn08YR8zz3— BLACKCAPS (@BLACKCAPS) December 26, 2018
100-run stand between BJ Watling and Tim Southee! Hagley crowd really enjoying these two...— BLACKCAPS (@BLACKCAPS) December 26, 2018
🇳🇿 169/6 - Watling 42* | Southee 66*
NZC LIVE CARD | https://t.co/YhNC8DPej2#NZvSL pic.twitter.com/9ytj0SxMYA
TEA TIME. A double strike just before the break claims Tim Southee and Neil Wagner. Southee an excellent 68 off just 65 balls falls to a spectacular catch from Danushka Gunathilaka off Dilruwan Perera.— BLACKCAPS (@BLACKCAPS) December 26, 2018
🇳🇿 175/8 | Watling 46*
NZC LIVE CARD | https://t.co/YhNC8DPej2#NZvSL pic.twitter.com/lOzfJCbk0E
Watling falls in the second over after lunch - another gritty, determined 'BJ' innings, then Patel goes hooking a few balls later.— BLACKCAPS (@BLACKCAPS) December 26, 2018
Now we bowl...
🇳🇿 178 | Southee 68 | Watling 46 | Lakmal 5-54
NZC LIVE CARD | https://t.co/YhNC8DPej2 #NZvSL pic.twitter.com/wxtDBS265X
RECORD BREAKER! Southee gets Chandimal and moves to number three on the all-time Test wicket list for NZ. He's taken 234 wickets 👏👏👏— BLACKCAPS (@BLACKCAPS) December 26, 2018
NZC LIVE CARD | https://t.co/YhNC8DPej2 #NZvSL pic.twitter.com/Yudl87GjMb
MASSIVE DAY! 14 wickets fell on an eventful day one at Hagley Oval.— BLACKCAPS (@BLACKCAPS) December 26, 2018
🇱🇰 88/4 Southee 3-29
NZC LIVE CARD | https://t.co/YhNC8DPej2
Tickets for day two | https://t.co/mnbSmtmpxO#NZvSL pic.twitter.com/wRSQOX5a7o