1st Test: Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews keep New Zealand wicketless
Kusal Mendis moved to 98* by tea on day four in Wellington. ©AFP

The pair of Kusal Mendis and Angelo Matthews have kept New Zealand searching for their first wicket of day four, batting out two sessions while taking Sri Lanka from 20/3 to 197/3 by tea at the Basin Reserve.

Mendis is two runs shy of a sixth Test century, while Mathews is 74 not out. Their stand for the fourth wicket is worth 184 in 64.4 overs.

This stonewalling alliance has frustrated New Zealand, who have watched their lead whittled down to 99 with rain forecast for day five in Wellington.

LIVE SCORECARD: NEW ZEALAND vs SRI LANKA, 1st TEST

New Zealand had the visitors on the mat at 20/3 on Monday after Tom Latham’s unbeaten 264 helped them to a lead of 296, but Mendis and Mathews have applied themselves admirably on Tuesday.

Under sunny skies, the overnight batsmen left well and judged which shots to play, crucially surviving the short-ball attack from Neil Wagner. Neither shied away from playing his shots against left-armer Wagner, who was hit for five fours in three overs: two to Mendis and three to Mathews in one over.

Sri Lanka scored 99 runs in the morning session, from 28 overs, and after lunch added 75 in 31.

Tea: Sri Lanka 282 & 197/3 (Kusal Mendis 98*, Mathews 74) trail New Zealand 578 by 99 runs.