1st Test: Sri Lanka slump to 20/3 after Tom Latham’s 264*
Tom Latham's 264* is the second highest score by a New Zealand opener. ©AFP

New Zealand utterly bossed a feeble Sri Lanka at the Basin Reserve on Monday, reducing them to 20/3 by stumps after an epic unbeaten 264 from the Tom Latham who came within four runs of recording the highest score by a New Zealand opener in Tests.

Latham converted his overnight 121 into a career-best innings to take the hosts to 578, and was left one shot short of surpassing Bryan Young’s 267 not out when the last man Trent Boult was dismissed for 11 of six balls, with Latham stranded on 264 off 489 balls.

At stumps, New Zealand lead by 276 runs.

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In crossing 200 on day four in Wellington, Latham became the sixth New Zealand opener to do so in Tests. With a flick off the stumps for two not long after play resumed after lunch, the 26-year-old moved past his previous Test best of 177. He reached his double-century off 412 balls, hitting 16 boundaries on the way, following Bert Sutcliffe (230*), Graham Dowling (239), Glenn Turner (259 and 223*), Young (267*) and Brendon McCullum (225 and 202) as the New Zealand Test openers to reach 200.

Having lost Ross Taylor without a run added to his overnight 50 courtesy a stunning catch from Dimuth Karunaratne at short leg who intercepted a whip off the pads exceptionally, Latham put on 114 for the fourth wicket with Henry Nicholls (50) and then 73 in 15 overs with Colin de Grandhomme (49).

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Nicholls continued his resolute batting from the UAE and helped Latham steer New Zealand through the morning session after Karunaratne’s stunner. The left-hander’s driving down the ground was particularly pleasing, and it was one such attempted drive off Dilruwan Perera that saw him pick out long-on for 50. BJ Watling was greeted with a nasty bouncer from Lahiru Kumara that kissed his bat through to Niroshan Dickwella as he attempted to tuck it away, and his exit for 0 meant Sri Lanka had prized out two wickets without a run conceded.

Enter de Grandhomme, who swung three fours and three sixes in his 53-ball 49 in a busy stand with Latham. He edged his first ball wide of the slips for four and hardly looked back until he swung Dhananjaya de Silva straight to deep midwicket to miss a fifty by one runs.

As the lower order gave way, Latham pressed on. He crossed 250 with a pull shot for two, and in the next over hit Perera for a four and six to move to 263. He added one more run before Boult was dismissed when he mistimed a slog. That gave Kumara figures of 4/127 from 31.3 overs.

Faced with a deficit of 296 runs, Sri Lanka’s top order combusted. Danushka Gunathilaka unsuccessfully reviewed an lbw decision against Boult in the fourth over before Tim Southee grabbed two wickets in consecutive overs. His first was Karunaratne, out playing a hopeless pull shot that Boult collected at deep backward square leg, and then Dhananjaya de Silva was bowled by a fuller ball for 0.

Stumps: Sri Lanka 282 & 20/3 trail New Zealand 578 (Latham 64*, Taylor 50, Nicholls 50) by 276 runs