Colombo: Nov 28,2012
New Zealand are on the verge of leveling the two match Test series as they reduce Sri Lanka to 47 for four after setting a challenging total of 363 on Day Four of the Colombo Test.
Resuming after Tea at 154 for five, Sri Lanka took quick wickets to keep a check on the lead. Debutant Todd Astle was the first to go after Tea, an unlucky dismissal to say the least. Astle put all his might in an attempt to sweep the ball, but the ball hit the boot of the short-leg fielder and flew straight to Tilakaratne Dilshan at mid-wicket. The next three wickets fell for just 10 runs and the Kiwis skipper, Ross Taylor (74) made the declaration, setting a target of 363 to win.
Sri Lanka had a nightmarish start once again as Tim Southee and Doug Bracewell removed the top four batsmen cheaply to reduce the hosts to 47 for four when bad light stopped play.
Opener Tharanga Paranavitana was dismissed leg before wicket of the first ball of the Sri Lankan innings as Southee continued his sublime wicket-taking form. Dilshan was Southee's second victim of the innings as the latter failed to move his feel and attempted a drive on a full delivery outside his off-stump and gave a regulation catch to wicket keeper Kruger van Wyk.
Sri Lanka's hopes of saving the match was further dented when Kumar Sangakkara was clean bowled by Doug Bracewell to reduce Sri Lanka to 41 for three.
The game kept getting worse for the hosts as they lost another key player in Mahela Jayawardene who gave van Wyk his second catch of the innings.
At close of play, the hosts were reeling at 47 for four, needing 316 more runs to win.
Earlier, Taylor (53 not out) and Astle (32 not out) put on an unbeaten partnership of 79 runs in the second innings on Day Four of the Colombo Test to take New Zealand's lead past the 300 mark.
Having bowled Sri Lanka out for 244, the Kiwis lost early wickets and were reduced to 75 for 5 before the duo of Taylor and Astle put on a good partnership.
(With inputs from AFP)
Brief Scores: New Zealand 412 and 194 for 9 dec. (Ross Taylor 74, Todd Astle 35; Rangana Herath 3 for 67) lead Sri Lanka 244 and 47 for 4 (Kumar Sangakkara 16, Tilakaratne Dilshan 14; Doug Bracewell 2 for 5) by 316 runs.