2nd Test: Suranga Lakmal carves up New Zealand top order
Suranga Lakmal handed Sri Lanka the advantage at Hagley Oval. © AFP

Sri Lanka took full advantage of winning a crucial toss in the deciding third New Zealand Test on Wednesday with Suranga Lakmal taking three early wickets.

With a favourable green wicket at Hagley Oval, Christchurch, and heavy cloud cover, Lakmal had three for 10 in his eighth over and New Zealand were stuttering at 22 for three a little over midway through the opening session. (LIVE SCORECARD: NZ vs SL, 2nd TEST)

His victims included Tom Latham, who went for 10 after producing an unbeaten 264 in the first Test. New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson was caught behind for two and opener Jeet Raval was out for six.

Ross Taylor and Henry Nicholls were left to mount a rescue mission for New Zealand.

New Zealand, who have only lost one of five Tests at Hagley Oval, are bidding for a fourth consecutive series win for the first time in their history.Sri Lanka need at least a draw to secure a third consecutive away series without defeat, equalling their longest series unbeaten streak away from home.