September 16, 2019
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    Kiwi defiance opens up second Test

    August 25, 2019

    An unbroken 79-run partnership for the fifth wicket between Tom Latham (111) and stumper Bradly Watling (25) has put New Zealand in a great position to take a lead over the hosts, by the end of day three in the second test at the P Sara Oval.The visitors encountered some difficulty in separting the overnight pair in Dhananjaya de Silva and Dilruwan Perera. Once that was done, Lakmal had to cope with a volley of well directed short balls from Tim Southee who was the best bowler of the morning session.


    De Silva made a brilliant hundred that was full of superbly timed drives, late cuts and shots off his pads. He certainly put his claims forward for permanent occupation of the number six slot. His bowling is secondary-not the other way around.Mercifully, day 3 dawned clearer and free form the threat of rain. De Silva welcomed Patel with two late cuts to the boundary. The touch was exquisite. Another four, this time squarer, enabled him to go to his fifty in 85 balls.
    After Patel had disposed of Perera with a quicker delivery, Lakmal drove at his first and edged wide of Southee in the gully. The introduction of Southee at the expense of Boult, led to an interesting passage of play. He peppered Lakmal from round the wicket, trying to induce a hook. Sri Lanka’s seamer took a blow on the fingers and on the upper forearm. De Silva came to his partner’s rescue, taking as much of the strike as possible.He paddled Patel fine for four. Taylor came round from slip in anticipation, but the ball eluded him. Willimanson’s perceived faith in Boult seemed a trifle misguided. The Sri Lankan number six was in superb touch, twice caressing wayward deliveries from the left armer over the boundary at fine leg.
    Tom Latham remained unbeaten on 111
    Following an excellent straight driven four off Boult, De Silva moved into the nineties. He got to three figures in 138 balls, with the aid of 15 fours and two sixes. Having completed his fifth test hundred, Dhannjaya threw caution to the winds and swung widely at Boult who targeted the top of the stumps.Openers Geet Raval and Tom Latham survived two difficult overs before lunch. However, the first ball after the break did for Raval. Short of runs at Galle, the New Zealand skipper was understandably circumspect to begin with. Willimason dealt powerfully with a short off break from Perera. He placed Lakmal expertly in the second slip-gully gap for his second boundary. But then he guided a full length Kumara delivery into the waiting hands of Mendis at second slip. The visiting skipper’s agony at his folly was excruciating.
    Taylor, who likes to counter attack, played three false shots off Perera–the attempted off drives ending on the on-side. In tandem with the sedate Latham, the more aggressive Taylor swept Perera for 4 and then advanced down the track to Embuldeniya and punched him straight to the boundary. Latham continued to pick his singles, pushing off the back foot into the covers, and playing well off his pads.Taylor drove the left armer sweetly through the covers for four. The spinner almost exacted revenge the next ball, spinning a perfectly pitched leg break past the edge. An over or two later, the left armer had his prey. A nicely floated delivery brought forth an edge off Taylor’s bat. This was two-in-two for the young left armer who accounted for Taylor at Galle too.
    Latham proceeded serenely to his half century. His stroke-play was not extravagant. He used his feet well to the spinners. Most importantly, he played within his limitations. Nicholls was in a totally defensive mindset and his demise was no surprise.Watling was a revelation. Using his feet cleverly to spinners Perera and Embuldeniya, he kept the board moving with some crisp drives. An on driven four by Latham and a couple of cover drives by Walting were shots for the connoisseur. In defence, Walting’s head was right over the ball.
    There was a bit of pace in the wicket, but Kumar and Lakmal failed to take advantage. Most of the bowling was done by the left-arm-right-arm spin combination. Embuldeniya did extract some turn on occasion. Watling countered Embuldeniya by skipping down the pitch and stabbing the ball into the ground.Latham wended his way to his fourth century against Sri Lanka by pulling through mid-wicket to the boundary. He seems to have a liking for the home team against whom he has made some big scores –254 n.o, 167 etc. He has ten hundreds in all.
    Watling was an exemplary partner, ever out willing to help our with the strike and the runs. Up against a determined pair of batsmen, the Sri Lankans failed to separate them. There were a few close calls and near misses, especially when Latham essayed the sweep.
    Scoreboard
    Sri Lanka (Overnight 144-6)
    Dimuth Karunaratne c Watling b Southee 65
    (Full and good length, tempting batsman to step forward, but fails to connect and caught behind)
    Lahiru Thirimanne c Williamson b Somerville 2
    (Tossed up delivery, forces to drive forward, easy catch at short cover)
    Kusal Mendis c Watling b de Grandhomme 32
    (Decent delivery, moving away from the batsman, comes forward to push, caught behind)
    Angelo Mathews c Watling b Boult 2
    (Attempted short delivery, average, pulls early, diving catch down leg side to give Bouth his 250th Test wicket)
    Kusal Perera lbw b Boult 0
    (Pitches just outside off, and swings in sharply)
    Dhananjaya de Silva b Boult 109
    (Delivery on target, attempted slog but early, misses completely)
    Niroshan Dickwella c Watling b Southee 0
    (Nice and full, closer to the off stump, tempts to drive, edges to wicketkeeper)
    Dilruwan Perera lbw b Patel 13
    (Arm ball, goes flat to hit the pad, REVIEWS, overturned)
    Suranga Lakmal c Watling b Southee 10
    (Bouncer, targeting slightly over shoulder, batsman fends, but ball brushes glove and bat handle to keeper)
    Lasith Embuldeniya lbw b Southee 0
    (Pitched in line, straightens, hits the pad, REVIEWS, overturned)
    Lahiru Kumara not out 5
    Extras (b1, lb2, nb3) 6
    TOTAL (all out; 90.2 overs) 244
    Fall of wickets: 1-29 (Thirimanne, 14.4), 2-79 (Mendis, 32.3), 3-93 (Mathews, 41.1), 4-93 (K. Perera, 41.5), 5-130 (Karunaratne, 57.3), 6-130 (Dickwella, 57.6), 7-171 (D. Perera, 74.5), 8-214 (Lakmal, 83.5), 9-224 (Embuldeniya, 85.1), 10-244 (D. de Silva, 90.2)
    Bowling: Trent Boult 22.2-6-75-3, Tim Southee 29-7-63-4, Colin de Grandhomme 17-3-35-1, William Somerville 6-3-20-1, Ajaz Patel 16-4-48-1
    New Zealand
    Jeet Raval c de Silva b D. Perera 0
    (Tossed up delivery, dips and turns, drives forward, takes a thick edge to slip)
    Tom Latham not out 111
    Kane Williamson c Mendis b Kumara 20
    (Length closer to off stump, plays deliberately, but finds the second slip)
    Ross Taylor c de Silva b Embuldeniya 23
    (Tossed up delivery, comes down the track and edges to slip)
    Henry Nicholls c de Silva b D. Perera 15
    (Tossed up delivery, similar style and combination of opener Raval’s dismissal)
    BJ Watling not out 25
    Extras (lb1, w1) 2
    TOTAL (For 4 wickets; 62 overs) 196
    To bat: Colin de Grandhomme, Tim Southee, William Somerville, Trent Boult, Ajaz Patel
    Fall of wickets: 1-1 (Raval, 3.1), 2-34 (Williamson, 12.5), 3-84 (Taylor, 26.2), 4-126 (Nicholls, 42.3)
    Bowling: Dilruwan Perera 25-3-76-2, Dhananjaya de Silva 4-1-8-0, Suranga Lakmal 4-1-9-0, Lahiru Kumara 11-0-44-1, Lasith Embuldeniya 18-1-58-1

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