New Zealand end day 3 on 196/4
2019-08-24 at 18:50
Tom Latham’s gritty unbeaten 111 gave New Zealand a slight upper hand over Sri Lanka at stumps on Day 3 of the second Test.
The visitors were 196/4, trailing by 48 runs.
As the final session commenced, the Sri Lankan spinners would have hoped to make further inroads. However, Latham blunted the hosts with his trademark sweep shot.
He also cracked the short-arm pull off Dilruwan Perera just before the rain made its presence felt. Fortunately, it turned out to be a short break as the players made their way back to the middle again.
After the short break, Latham also pinched singles to keep the scorecard moving. By then, he had lost his batting partner, Henry, Nicholls, with the middle order batsman edging a classic off-spinner’s delivery from Perera to the slip fielder.
Once Nicholls was dismissed, BJ Watling joined hands with Latham to share a crucial unbeaten association of 70.
Watling had a couple of close shaves, including a caught-behind decision that went in Perera’s favour. However, he immediately took the review and the UltraEdge suggested there wasn’t a nick.
In the same over, Latham also survived a loud shout for an LBW. In this case, Sri Lanka placed their belief in the review, but replays indicated the southpaw had eked out a glove.
In fact, Latham survived quite a few close LBW shouts through the course of the day, with the southpaw attempting the sweep shot.
The duo continued to gain in confidence and showcased exemplary footwork to collect boundaries off Lasith Embuldeniya. Latham soon reached his well-deserved century with a well-timed pull off Perera. The opener, who completed his 10th Test century, also soaked in all the applause from his teammates. T
he Watling-Latham duet then guided New Zealand to close of play to make it a good day for the visitors.
Earlier in the post-Lunch session, the trio of Perera, Embuldeniya and Kumara had bagged one scalp each to peg the visitors back. In the second over after the break, the visitors lost Jeet Raval with the opener edging a tossed up delivery from Perera to the slip fielder. The pace duo of Suranga Lakmal and Lahiru Kumara then tested Williamson with a hint of seam movement.
Kumara, eventually, succeeded in prising Williamson out with another of those scrambled seam deliveries that induced the batsman to steer it to the slip cordon.
At that stage, with the visitors in trouble, Taylor and Latham shared a vital alliance of 50 to glue the innings together.
The pair looked set to take the touring side to the break, only for Taylor to skip down the track and edge it to the slip fielder off Embuldeniya.
It was almost an action replay of his dismissal in the second innings of the Galle Test. Meanwhile, in the morning, Dhananjaya de Silva had composed an impressive 109 to help Sri Lanka recover from a spot of bother and lifted them to a competitive 244.
Unlike the first two days, Day 3 started on a brighter note with play commencing on time. Dhananjaya and Perera added useful runs in the first hour with a crucial stand of 41 for the seventh wicket.
The duo threatened to stitch a substantial alliance, but against the run of play, Ajaz Patel trapped Perera with the arm ball. Despite losing his batting partner, Dhananjaya batted with confidence and strung together a couple more useful partnerships with Lakmal and Kumara to prop up the innings.
Tim Southee and Trent Boult combined to share seven scalps as the hosts were bundled out in the 91st over.