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Williamson, Watling defy Sri Lanka

New Zealand recovers to reach 253 for 5 at stumps on day three, for an overall lead of 118 runs

Williamson, Watling defy Sri Lanka - Cricket News
Kane Williamson and BJ Watling added 94 runs for the fourth wicket and helped New Zealand post 253 for 5.

An unbeaten sixth-wicket partnership between Kane Williamson and BJ Watling helped New Zealand post 253 for 5 at stumps, stretching its overall lead to 118 and keeping its hopes alive on the third day of the second Test against Sri Lanka in Wellington on Monday (January 5). 

Williamson scored a resilient 200-ball 80 while Watling was unbeaten on 48, nearing his ninth half-century. Sri Lanka, who lost the first Test of the series by eight wickets, will fancy its chances of winning this Test despite the Williamson-Watling show.

New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum, who scored a magnificent 302 against India the last time he played at the Basin Reserve, fell cheaply this time, trapped lbw by Dhammika Prasad for 22. Jimmy Neesham too was dismissed soon after for 19 by Nuwan Pradeep.

In need of a partnership and with the scorecard reading 159 for 5, Williamson took it upon himself to guide the innings forward. The right-hand batsman was given two reprieves when he was dropped on 29 and again on 60 in an otherwise cautious innings. Pradeep inflicted the most amount of damage, picking up 3 for 57, while Prasad and Rangana Herath picked up one wicket each. 

Openers Tom Latham and Hamish Rutherford started the New Zealand second innings positively, scoring 75 before the innings was derailed in a 30-ball burst that claimed three wickets.

Rutherford slashed at one during a barrage of short deliveries outside off and was caught in the third-man trap. Latham stuck around for a few more overs before being caught behind to give Pradeep a second wicket. Ross Taylor lasted just seven balls and was bowled by Rangana Herath.

The home side slipped from 75 without loss to 79 for 3 with the fourth and fifth wickets of McCullum and Neesham following at 122 and 159.

New Zealand was in a position of strength on Day 2 when it reduced Sri Lanka to 78 for 5 but the course of the innings changed with Kumar Sangakkara’s imperious 203 helped Sri Lanka take a 135-run first-innings lead to give the visiting side the advantage.

The teams will play a five-match One-Day International series after this Test ahead of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015. 

To follow live updates of the second Test test between New Zealand and Sri Lanka in Wellington, click here

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