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Williamson holds firm, but Sri Lanka continues to fight

New Zealand is 142 for 5 on day three, needs 47 more runs to win, after pacers restrict visiting side to 133

Williamson holds firm, but Sri Lanka continues to fight  - Cricket News
A win for New Zealand will extend its unbeaten run in home Tests to 13, equalling the record set from 1987-91.
Stellar performances from Kane Williamson and Tim Southee helped New Zealand edge ahead of Sri Lanka on the third day of the second Test in Hamilton on Sunday (December 20).

New Zealand was 142 for 5 at the close of play and needs 47 runs more to seal the Test and the series, but the match remains fascinatingly poised.

Till just before lunch, a New Zealand victory seemed a difficult task when Sri Lanka was 126 runs ahead with all second innings wickets in hand. However, the tables turned when the visiting side lost ten wickets for 62 runs. New Zealand thereby went from being 55 behind on the first innings to chasing a target of 189 to win.

At stumps, Williamson remained unbeaten on 78, in sight of his 13th Test century, with BJ Watling yet to score.

Dushmantha Chameera, the right-arm pacer, claimed 4 for 45 in New Zealand's second innings, which gave him nine wickets in the match so far.

Tom Latham and Martin Guptill, the openers, fell early as Chameera had New Zealand at 11 for 2 before Williamson and Ross Taylor (35) revived the innings with a 67-run third-wicket partnership.

Taylor was caught spectacularly at long-leg by Jeffrey Vandersay, the substitute fielder, who claimed the ball but then threw it high as momentum took him over the rope, but returned to the field to complete the catch. Brendon McCullum (18) then followed Taylor to the pavilion after adding 52 for the fourth wicket with Williamson.



On a firm pitch offering good bounce, 16 wickets fell on the day. 

Sri Lanka had made a good start to building on its first innings advantage with Kusal Mendis and Dimuth Karunaratne putting on 71. But Doug Bracewell then claimed Karunaratne for 27 and the momentum shifted. Bracewell had Udara Jayasundera dismissed two balls later and Neil Wagner sent back Dinesh Chandimal for 1, reducing Sri Lanka to 77 for 3.

Mendis and Angelo Mathews then held the innings together to take them through to lunch at 85 for 3, but New Zealand continued to chip away after the break.

Mendis had equalled his Test best 46 when he top-edged Tim Southee and was caught on the boundary by Mitchell Santner. Southee then removed Mathews, Rangana Herath and Nuwan Pradeep to take 4 for 10 in a 4.3-over burst. He finished with figures of 4 for 26.

Incidentally, Herath was the only player to be bowled. Milinda Siriwardana tried to belt the side out of trouble, racing to 26 before slogging at a rare fullish delivery from Wagner and was caught by Boult at deep midwicket.

A win for New Zealand will extend its unbeaten run in home Tests to 13, equalling the record set from 1987-91.