Tim Southee struck in his first over of the day © Getty Images
Tim Southee struck in his first over of the day © Getty Images

Dec 29, 2014

New Zealand and Sri Lanka will face off on Day 4 of the first Test at Christchurch. So far it has been advantage New Zealand all the way. After dominant performances with both bat and ball on the first couple of days of the Test, the Kiwis looked keen to wrap up the affair quickly as they struck twice in quick succession in the first session on Day 3.

At that point Karunaratne who was on a steady 77, along with his new partner at the crease, Lahiru Thirimanne on 14 would’ve looked to build on the tiny partnership as Sri Lanka were still trailing by 171 runs in their second innings after New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum had them follow on with a 303 lead.

Sri Lanka who put on a respectable 84-run unbeaten partnership at close of play on Day 2 soon found themselves in trouble again as Tim Southee struck in his very first over of the morning. The Kiwi seamers would’ve been delighted by the overhead conditions. It was a heavily overcast day and seemed extremely conducive to their style of bowling. They didn’t fail to cash in as Trent Boult soon took Kumar Sangakkara’s wicket with him adding just 6 runs to Sri Lanka’s scoreboard.

With that, Sangakkara’s wait to become the only fifth batsman to score a total of 12,000 runs in a Test career was extended as he fell five runs short of the landmark. Karunaratne who had put 49 runs on the board overnight got his 50 off the second ball of the day. Had it not been for the DRS, Thirimanne would’ve been back in the hut before lunch too as he was given out LBW off Mark Craig’s bowling. He went for a review and hawk-eye showed the ball was missing the stumps much to his delight.

The joy however was short lived as Thirimanne departed soon after lunch adding only 10 runs to his first session score. Then in came Angelo Mathews, the Sri Lanka skipper and the man-in-form and yet again scored a half century to give his team any semblance of hope. Together with Karunaratne he forged a fighting 96 run partnership before the latter departed on an applause-worthy 152, credits to Boult.

Sri Lanka reached stumps at 293 for 5, still trailing by 10 runs. A win for the home side looks inevitable unless the visitors pull off some kind of a miracle. NZ will be looking to finish things up within Day 4.

(Catch Live Scorecard and ball-by-ball commentary of the match here)

(Catch Live Blog of the match here)