New Zealand v Sri Lanka, 1st Test, Dunedin, 5th day December 14, 2015

Wagner paves way to NZ's 122-run victory


New Zealand 431 (Guptill 156, Williamson 88, McCullum 75, Pradeep 4-112) and 267 for 3 dec (Latham 109*, Williamson 71) beat Sri Lanka 294 (Karunaratne 84, Chandimal 83) and 282 (Chandimal 58) by 122 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

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Arnold: NZ quicks' variety was the clincher

In conditions where the old ball did nothing and New Zealand's three first-choice quicks produced innocuous medium-pace, Neil Wagner ran in relentlessly with tremendous stamina, sending down a barrage of short deliveries, harrying the batsmen at around 140 kph and broke Sri Lanka's resistance. Until Wagner came on, Dinesh Chandimal and Angelo Mathews had been untroubled and scored freely, but once he broke through his one wicket quickly led to many, and New Zealand completed a 122-run victory after lunch on the final day in Dunedin.

Before Brendon McCullum turned to Wagner, Sri Lanka made 45 runs in 15.5 overs, and Mitchell Santner and Doug Bracewell had just begun to control a previously brisk run rate. Wagner immediately resorted to a short-pitched attack from over the wicket - like he had done on the third day - targeting the right-hand batsman's ribs with men catching close on the leg side.

Chandimal had been cover-driving and cutting Trent Boult and Tim Southee, his fierce punishment of anything loose taking him swiftly to a half-century. Mathews had played with softer hands and a straighter bat, batting with calm. Wagner gave them no width, no opportunity to get on the front foot, hustling them with pace, forcing hurried evasive actions and awkward fends off the body.

Wagner's method of attack had become so ingrained in the batsman's psyche that they expected little else from him. And so Mathews, after moving hurriedly towards the off side to let two consecutive short balls whizz past his ribs, began to play the third delivery in a similar manner. Except that this time Wagner bowled a full length. The ball crashed into the inside of his front pad, shot between his legs and flattened middle stump. Mathews had not even played a shot, and was the first Sri Lankan batsman to not be caught in this Test.

Chandimal had to shelve his cavalier approach against Wagner. He had got to 50 off 90 balls - scoring 19 off 26 this morning - but made only eight off his next 41 deliveries. Subdued into a defensive mind-set, he padded up to a ball from the left-arm spinner Santner that went on with the arm, and was adjudged lbw not offering a shot. After a partnership of 56, Mathews and Chandimal had fallen with the score on 165.

Wagner now went around the wicket to aim at the ribs of the two left-handers - Kithuruwan Vithanage and Milinda Siriwardana. He pinned them to the crease with his length, and then bowled a fast full-toss at Siriwardana, who was hit on the back pad as he squared up in his crease. The umpire Nigel Llong gave him lbw but Siriwardana successfully reviewed the decision, replays surprisingly suggesting the ball would have missed off stump, perhaps because Wagner had delivered from extremely wide of the crease.

Wagner was given the second new ball for the last delivery of his first spell, which comprised eight overs at speeds that did not ebb.

Southee took two deliveries to strike with the new ball, swinging it back into Vithanage from over the wicket, hitting the left-hander's pads. Vithanage had played an enterprising innings, a run-a-ball 38 full of shots.

The slide was swift after lunch. Boult struck in the third and fifth over of the second session - drawing an edge from Rangana Herath and having Siriwardana caught at short cover, both batsmen not bothering with defence.

Sri Lanka went down swinging, and were bowled out for 282. However, the fact that an inexperienced batting line-up had lasted 95.2 overs after playing 117.1 in the first innings will be some consolation for a team rebuilding from the retirements of Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene.

George Binoy is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Kepili on December 16, 2015, 19:08 GMT

    Everyone backing Kithuruwan's inclusion seem to have no answers to the million-dollar question, how he was picked despite showing pathetic performance in his most recent 3 series scoring 92 runs @ 11 Av from 8 test inngs?

  • chethana on December 16, 2015, 18:10 GMT

    Dimuth Karunarathna,Dinesh Chandimal,Anjelo Mathews are the only established players in the Test team. If Kusal Perera were there he is the no.1 wicket keeper batsmen. Milinda is the best new found player with his all round ability. Kusal Mendis will be a long term prospect as he is just 20 years of age & Showing some character. Sangakkara believes that Lahiru Thirimanne should be the no.3 batsmen. Therefore batting lineup should be 1.Dimuth Karunarathna 2.Kusal Mendis 3.Lahiru Thirimanne 4.Dinesh Chandimal 5.Anjelo Mathews 6.Milinda Siriwardene 7.Kusal Perera; Performance of the Kusal Mendis,Udara Jayasundara,Kithruwan Vithanage in the next match will be decided who will be the future SL Test batting lineup. I don't think still Koushal,Thirimanne,Kusal Perera,Tharanga,Dickwella,Roshen have been avoided.

  • sriyantha on December 16, 2015, 17:17 GMT

    Since you asked @ RATNE: Without him SL wouldn't have been in the FINAL.! How did you forget that? Failing occasionally can happen to any best batter in the world & you pick that? In 2011 WC- Tharanga was RANKED 5th Best Batter: He scored 2 tons (with an unbeaten ton vs Eng in QF) & put up Two x 200+ opening stands with Dilshan, which is a record for WC!

    9 in -395 r -133 HS - 56.42 Av - 83.68 SR -2 x100 -1x50.;type=tournament

    Why dont you look at UT's odi stats in immediate 4 y prior to brutal axing in 2013.... for 2yrs+ in the dump without giving him any international exposure by overlooking him for 16 consecutive squads including 2015 WC?

    90 in - 3068 r@ 37.41 Av 174* HS - 76.85 SR -7 x100 - 19x50,

    Tharanga may not the best in the world, but he is certainly the best front-order batter currently available for SL with a solid record maintained over 10y. But no place

  • Surath on December 16, 2015, 16:46 GMT

    @ SLHERATH34786 ON DECEMBER 16, 2015, 4:45 GMT : UT will not be a regular in the SL test side. Kithruwan will come good if he gets a fair amount of chances.. Same with Udara Jayasundara.. I believe it was not the right move to send in Udara @ 3 in NZ.

  • d on December 16, 2015, 14:44 GMT

    UT promotion campaign on air!!!!!!!!

  • Ted on December 16, 2015, 14:09 GMT

    SL went down by 122 r plus Kiwi 7 wkts spared in 2nd ings. Almost like an innings defeat. The bandwagon who accuse everyone as a fan of the victimized player, whenever post facts about the most rediculous seletion discrepency ever saw in SL history. If check their postings in forums, anyone could easily find out who wants their guy to be in the side at any cost to SL. Tharanga had played very well in Tests SINCE his comeback in Aug 2014 after 7 y, with ample experience gathered in (Odis 180, 5k+ runs 13x100-28x50) First-class(120 mchs). He showed the the best consistency & productivity among all, with a match winning batting contributions in a series decider V Pk & narrowly missed 2 Tons (92 v Pk & 83 v SA) & 3 near 50 (45, 46, 48 v Pk) in that short stint, interupted 3 times including a 12 m layoff, just after his Test winning batting contributions, missing the 2014 Dec Nz tour. He has the best Av 47 as no3, among all tried out since Sanga left, but dropped. He only failed once Vs Ind

  • chethana on December 16, 2015, 8:35 GMT

    we need to play 5 bowlers for the next match. Dilruwan should play instead of Udara as he is a good batsmen too. It gives us a extra spinner who can take wickets. 1.Dimuth 2.Kusal 3.Kithruwan 4.Chandimal 5.Mathews 6,Milinda 7.Dilruwan 8.Herath 9.Chameera 10.Lakmal 11.Pradeep

  • chethana on December 16, 2015, 8:12 GMT

    If some one think UT is a good option I must say Tharanga Paranavithana is a better option than him. Dimuth,Chandimal,Mathews,Milinda are the established batters in the team. If Kusal Perera can play cricket anymore he will be the wicket keeper batsmen. We need to find 2 players from Kusal Mendis,Udara Jayasundara,Kithruwan Vithanage,Lahiru Thirimanne,Koushal Silva,Niroshan Dickwella,Upul Tharanga,Jehan Mubarak,Tharanga Paranavithana.

  • Dinesh on December 16, 2015, 7:19 GMT

    @SLHERATH3 how come such "Highly IMPRESSIVE Tharanga" having a final avg 30 in Test then ? There are lot of capable youngsters than miserable Tharanga who scored 2 runs for 20 balls in 2011 worldcup final.

  • sriyantha on December 16, 2015, 4:45 GMT

    @Gforcebust: agree 100% with your point. Kithuruwan's Test Series averages in past 3 series were pathetically miserable:

    2014 Jul-Aug- Vs SA -10 Av, Vs PK -16 Av & 2015-Jul- Vs Pk- 14 Av.

    If they have a POLICY of picking players on performances, compared to Kithruwin in the same Test series, how come they overlooked Tharanga's Highly IMPRESSIVE productivity & consistency, to grant him a spot;

    UT: 2014 Jul-Aug-Vs SA-35 Av, Vs Pk series 42 Av & 2015-Jul- Vs Pk - 47 Av.

    PERFORMANCE Comparision of Kithruwan & grossly overlooked & underrated Tharanga:

    1) South Africa in Sri Lanka Test Series, July 2014:

    -Tharanga: 2 Tests - HS 83 - 138 runs - 34.50 Av

    - Vithanage: 1 Test - HS 13 - 20 runs - 10.00 Av

    2) Pakistan in SL Test Series, Aug 2014:

    -Tharanga: 2 Tests - HS 92 - 168 runs - 42.0 Av

    -Vithanage: 1 Test - HS 11 - 16 runs - 16.0 Av

    3) Pakistan in SL Test Series, Jul 2015:

    -Tharanga: 1 Test - HS 48 - 94 runs - 47.0 Av

    -Vithanage: 2 Tests - HS 34 - 56 runs -14.0 Av


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