Tim Southee top scored with 68 and finished the day with three wickets after the BlackCaps were bowled out for 178. @ AFP
Tim Southee top scored with 68 and finished the day with three wickets after the BlackCaps were bowled out for 178. @ AFP

Christchurch: Star of the opening day of the second and deciding Test against Sri Lanka at Christchurch, Tim Southee reckons the tourists’ shorter ball gave them some leeway to score runs after Suranga Lakmal rattled the top order.

2nd Test, New Zealand vs Sri Lanka, Day 1: SCORECARD

In a marathon opening session, Lakmal bowled unchanged for 16 overs to see figures of four for 11. He returned late in the innings to remove Neil Wagner to eclipse his previous best of five for 63 against South Africa two years ago.

However, according to Southee, who combined with BJ Watling (46) as they mounted 108 runs for the seventh wicket, the period in which Sri Lanka’s younger seamers – Lahiru Kumara and Kasun Rajitha –attempted to bowl short-pitched deliveries “worked in New Zealand’s favour”.

“I guess they changed their tactics that had worked so well for them for the first six wickets, and that probably worked in our favour,” Southee was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo on Wednesday.

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“The fuller balls worked better on that pitch than the shorter ones, and when they bowled short, we were just trying to cash in on that.”

“We knew it was going to be tough after losing the toss, but Lakmal bowled extremely well and asked some tough questions,” Southee said.

“We’ve had other teams come to this part of the world and win the toss, and we’ve still been able to put a reasonable score on the board. A lot of credit has to go to the way Lakmal bowled. Early on he got his lengths right and was a real handful.”

Lakmal’s marathon opening spell came under high praise from Southee.

“When you’re taking wickets, it’s tough to get the ball out of your hand. He was in a bit of a rhythm. He had the 40-minute break after lunch, but came out and bowled another few overs. It worked for him that we were bowled out, but if we could have batted a bit longer and asked him to come back and come back, then that might have tested him, but full credit to him. He bowled exceptionally in that first hour,” he said.