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Sri Lanka make strong start in first test against Black Caps


Tim Southee of the Black Caps

Black Caps test captain Tim Southee took three wickets on day one against Sri Lanka.
Photo: Photosport

The Black Caps bowlers were slow to make inroads as Sri Lanka dominate the first Test in Christchurch.

At stumps on day one Sri Lanka were 305-6 from 75 overs bowled.

After being sent in to bat on a green Hagley Oval pitch, the Sri Lanka batters absorbed the pressure from the New Zealand’s four-pronged pace attack for the first hour of the day before the visitors took control of the remainder of the session putting on 120 runs for the loss of one wicket at the lunch break.

Sri Lanka’s number 3 batter Kusal Mendis batted instinctively for his 87 runs before captain Tim Southee had him trapped lbw early in the second session.

Dimuth Karunaratne, who also scored a half century in a 137-run partnership with Mendis, was Matt Henry’s first wicket.

Henry grabbed a second when he had the experienced Angelo Mathews caught just short of a milestone with Daryl Mitchell’s safe hands sending him back to the shed on 47.

Southee moved into second place on the New Zealand all-time Test wicket-taking list with his third wicket of the day, overtaking former New Zealand spinner Daniel Vettori.

Sir Richard Hadlee tops the wicket-taking list with 431 wickets still a long way ahead of Southee’s 362.

While Southee and Henry had some success with the ball, Sri Lanka targeted Neil Wagner and hit the pace bowler for 30 runs from three overs.

Southee was reluctant to throw the ball back to Wagner but he did return for seven more overs to finish the day with 68 runs off his 10 overs.

Blair Tickner who is still early in his Test cricket career was also expensive leaking 88 runs from 17 overs.

The introduction of spin late in the game got Michael Bracewell a wicket as New Zealand tried to stop Sri Lanka piling on the runs.

Sri Lanka will resume on day two with Dhananjaya de Silva on 39 and Kasun Rajitha on 16.

New Zealand have made one change after their one-run win against England, bringing in Blair Tickner in place of Will Young.

Sri Lanka still have an outside chance of making the test championship final against Australia, as long as they beat New Zealand 2-nil and India fail to beat Australia in the final match of their current series.


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