Dinesh Chandimal went to stumps undefeated at 83 © AFP (File Photo)
Dinesh Chandimal went to stumps undefeated at 83 © AFP (File Photo)

After a fantastic start to their day, a defiant partnership worth 122 runs between Dimuth Karunaratne and Dinesh Chandimal threatened to take the initiative away from the New Zealanders. But, Mitchell Santner got the better of Karunaratne with a bit of extra bounce and pressure created through consistent accuracy. After that wicket, New Zealand’s position on top of the account was confirmed. Tim Southee than got rid of skipper Angelo Mathews and New Zealand’s position was further strengthened. The saving grace for Sri Lanka is that Chandimal continued to fight hard. Live Cricket Scorecard: New Zealand vs Sri Lanka 2015-16, 1st Test at Dunedin

Early in the day, New Zealand’s tail wagged a bit with Doug Bracewell leading the show. He was the last wicket to fall with New Zealand’s score a formidable 431 and his personal score three short of a maiden Test fifty. New Zealand’s bowlers came out roaring and struck almost immediately.

With the seaming ball, they kept Sri Lanka on tenterhooks and picked the wickets of Kusal Mendis and Udara jayasundara in no time. Sri Lanka, reeling at 29 for two, were in desperate need of a partnership and that’s when Chandimal and Karunaratne delivered. They dealt with the swinging and seaming ball sedately.

New Zealand’s quicks were not flat at any stage in the game yet the batsmen held fort in a mature and responsible fashion. Chandimal buried his natural killer instincts and played shots only when gifted the odd bad ball. Karunaratne also showed why he could be the man to lead Sri Lanka in the way forward with solid defence and aptitude to dispatch the bad balls.

Karunaratne and Chandimal saw off the Kiwi bowlers till tea. It was only after a gritty 122-run stand that Mitchell Santner produced a breakthrough for New Zealand by getting the better of Karunaratne with extra bounce as he attempted the cut shot. Santner stepped up well to his role of solitary spinner in absence of Mark Craig. He flighted the ball, got some turn but caused most uncertainty because of the added bounce.

New Zealand were awarded another slightly lucky wicket in quick succession with Angelo Mathews trickling a very faint edge off a Southee full length down leg side. The on-field umpire ruled him not out but on review a faint edge was detected on hot spot and Southee had his birthday present.

Once again Sri Lanka were pushed into a corner but yet again they showed spirit. Chandimal was very watchful of each delivery and the effect rubbed off on Vithanage and even he looked quite solid. He was given a second life by Kane Williamson, who in a rare lapse of concentration on the field, dropped him of an aerial drive at short cover. The batsmen took it from there on to stumps, still trailing New Zealand by 234 runs. It’s poised to be an exciting affair tomorrow.

Brief scores:

Sri Lanka 197 for 4 (Karunaratne 84, Chandimal 83*; Tim Southee 1 for 35) trail New Zealand 431 (Martin Guptill 156, Kane Williamson 88; Suranga Lakmal 2 for 69) by 234 runs.

Full Scorecard

(Rishad D’Souza, a reporter with CricketCountry, gave up hopes of playing Test cricket after a poor gully-cricket career. He now reports on the sport. You can follow @RDcric on Twitter)