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New Zealand
World Test Championship

New Zealand pick up crucial wickets on rain-marred opening day in Colombo

SL v NZ, 2nd Test, day 1, report

New Zealand claimed two crucial wickets to finish day one of the Colombo Test with a slight advantage over Sri Lanka, who went into stumps on 85/2.

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Only 36.3 overs of play took place in Colombo as a rain-marred day resulted in a delayed start while bad light forced an early close on the opening day of the second Test between Sri Lanka and New Zealand on Thursday, 22 August. 

Dimuth Karunaratne remained unbeaten on 49
Dimuth Karunaratne remained unbeaten on 49

Skipper Dimuth Karunratne, who scored a match-winning 122 in the previous Test at Galle, continued his brilliant form at the P Sara Oval. He remained unbeaten on 49, striking six fours. 

The first session was washed out due to rain with the toss taking place after the lunch break. “It’s a good wicket. Win the toss, bat first, do the hard work and set the Test up,” suggested former Sri Lanka cricketer Russel Arnold before the start of play.

Sri Lanka captain Karunaratne won the toss and elected to bat. Both teams made one change to their side, Sri Lanka replacing Akila Dananjaya, who was reported for a suspect bowling action after the Galle Test, with a like-for-like candidate Dilruwan Perera while New Zealand brought in Colin de Grandhomme for Mitchell Santner.

With conditions favourable for swing bowling, New Zealand opened the attack with the experienced duo of Trent Boult and Tim Southee. Although Boult got the ball swinging from the start while Southee from the other end was bowling perfect lengths, Karunaratne found the gaps to hit timely boundaries.

The Sri Lanka captain kept the scoreboard ticking while his partner, Lahiru Thirimanne, played defensively. After a steady start, New Zealand captain Kane Williamson introduced spin and got success soon.

Kane Williamson takes an easy catch at short cover to dismiss Lahiru Thirimanne
Kane Williamson takes an easy catch at short cover to dismiss Lahiru Thirimanne

Will Somerville provided the visitors with the first breakthrough, sending back Thirimanne, who never looked completely settled, for just 2. The Sri Lankan opener batted for over 30 balls, and spooned an easy catch straight into the hands of Williamson at short cover.

Karunaratne and Kusal Mendis, the No.3, then steadied the proceedings, taking their side to tea at 71/1. In the final session, their 50-run partnership was broken as Sri Lanka lost Mendis. A faint edge caught by the wicket-keeper BJ Watling off Colin de Grandhomme. 

Sri Lanka finished the day with Karunaratne and Angelo Mathews, who is yet to get off the mark, in the middle. 

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