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NZ v SL, 1st Test: Sri Lanka on top after Black Caps slump to 162/5

Christchurch (New Zealand), March 10 (IANS) New Zealand skipper Tim Southee completed a five-wicket haul to dismiss Sri Lanka for 355 while Tom Latham struck a half-century but the visitors were in the driver’s seat after reducing the hosts to 162/5 at the end of Day 2 in the first Test at the Hagley Oval here on Friday.

Southee claimed 5-64 off 26.4 overs as Sri Lanka started on the overnight score of 305/6 as the visitors were bundled out for 355 all out in 92.4 overs.

Sri Lanka, who were propped up by an 87 by Kusal Mendis and 50 by skipper Dimuth Karunaratne while Angelo Mathews (47) and Dhananjaya de Silva (46) made vital contributions. While Southee claimed 5-64, fellow pacer Matt Henry finished with 4-80.

New Zealand got off to a good start in their first innings as Tom Latham (67) and DEvon Conway (30) raised 67 runs for the opening wicket. However, they lost three wickets for nine runs on Friday and were reduced to 162-5 at the stumps.

New Zealand trail by 193 runs in the first innings and have a mountain to climb on the third on Saturday to fight their way back into the match.

At the close of play on Day 2, Daryl Mitchell was unbeaten on 40 with the in-form Tom Blundell falling 20 minutes before stumps for seven.

After New Zealand slumped to 76-3, Sri Lanka put an exclamation point on a successful day, taking the big wicket of Tom Latham for 67, who fell to a yorker from Asitha Fernando.

After Asitha Fernando made the breakthrough for Sri Lanka by trapping Conway before the wicket, New Zealand lost former skipper Kane Williamson (1) and Nehry Nicholls (2) in quick succession to slump to 76/3.

Then came the big wicket of Latham that put them in an advantageous position. Latham was castled by Fernando with a ripping yorker that crashed into the stumps. The 30-year-old left-hander, who struck seven boundaries during his patient 144-ball knock, had raised a fifty-run partnership with Daryll Mitchell before he was out.

Pressure is now on the New Zealand tail to add as many runs as possible to take their team as close to Sri Lanka’s first-innings score and maintain their hopes in this match.

Brief scores: Sri Lanka 355 all out in 92.4 overs (Kusal Mendis 87, Dimuth Karunaratne 50, Angelo Mathews 47; Tim Southee 5-64, Matt Henry 4-80) lead New Zealand 162/5 in 63 overs (Tom Latham 67, Daryl Mitchell 40 not out; Lahiru Kumara 2-34, Asitha Fernando 2-42).



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