x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

New Zealand on the ropes as Sri Lanka send wickets tumbling

Sri Lanka took firm control on day two of the second Test against New Zealand yesterday, reducing the tourists to 159-5 at stumps despite Ross Taylor's gritty half-century.

Sri Lanka's Rangana Herath, second right, celebrates with teammates after the dismissal of unseen New Zealand cricketer Jesse Ryder
Sri Lanka's Rangana Herath, second right, celebrates with teammates after the dismissal of unseen New Zealand cricketer Jesse Ryder

COLOMBO // Sri Lanka took firm control on day two of the second Test against New Zealand yesterday, reducing the tourists to 159-5 at stumps despite Ross Taylor's gritty half-century. Taylor, unbeaten on 70 at the close, waged a lone battle as New Zealand attempted to match Sri Lanka's solid first innings score of 416. He faced 118 balls and hit nine boundaries. The Black Caps started their reply poorly, falling to three for 63. The seamer Dammika Prasad made the first breakthrough, taking a wicket with his first ball by trapping Tim McIntosh leg before for five. Martin Guptill and Daniel Flynn added 35 runs for the second wicket before the left-arm seamer Thilan Thushara forced an edge from Flynn (13) to wicketkeeper Prasanna Jayawardena. Guptill made a solid start but was out soon after tea, caught by Muttiah Muralitharan trying to pull Thushara. After his departure, Taylor and Jesse Ryder showed resilience with an 83-run partnership for the fourth wicket. But left-arm spinner Rangana Herath ended the threatening stand by having Ryder (23) caught at forward short leg. The would-be night watchman Jeetan Patel was soon out, caught by Mahela Jayawardene off Muralitharan as the Black Caps plunged to 149-5. Wicketkeeper Brendon McCullum was unbeaten at stumps on five. Thushara finished the day with two for 37 while Muralitharan's single scalp took his record career total of Test match wickets to 778. Earlier, New Zealand's bowlers did well to polish off Sri Lanka's lower order quickly after the hosts threatened a huge score anchored by a solid 143 from Thilan Samaraweera. The New Zealand off-spinner Patel picked up three wickets in the middle session and finished with four for 78. Samaraweera, who had batted cautiously, tried to reverse-sweep Patel only to get a top edge that was caught by McCullum. Samaraweera, who faced 240 balls and hit 17 boundaries and a six for his 11th test hundred, became the second batsman to score more than 1,000 Test runs this year, along with England's Andrew Strauss. The year has been eventful for Samaraweera, who scored back-to-back double hundreds in Pakistan before sustaining a bullet wound in the thigh in the terrorist attack on the team's bus in March.

* AP