Sri Lanka v New Zealand, 1st Test, Galle, 2nd day

Dead heat after hard-fought day

The Report by George Binoy

November 18, 2012

Comments: 31 | Text size: A | A

New Zealand 221 and 35 for 1 lead Sri Lanka 247 (Mahela 91, Mathews 79, Southee 4-46) by 9 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Angelo Mathews hits to the midwicket boundary, Sri Lanka v New Zealand, 1st Test, Galle, 2nd day, November 18, 2012
Angelo Mathews helped rescue Sri Lanka from the depths of 50 for 5 © Associated Press
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The Galle Test is shaping up to be a game of small margins. The seesaw battle on the second day reinforced as much, and ensured the series lead would be decided by what is effectively a one-innings shootout.

During the first hour, New Zealand made inroads so deep into Sri Lanka's line-up that they were well placed to press for a sizeable first-innings advantage. Over the next three, though, Sri Lanka's captain and his deputy restored parity and then gained the ascendency. The good times did not last as long as the hosts would have liked, and the upshot of New Zealand's resurgence post tea was a mere 26-run lead for the hosts. The visitors, however, could not erase the deficit without suffering damage.

In response to New Zealand's first-innings total of 221, Sri Lanka resumed on 9 for 1 on the second day, and their batsmen were subjected to a severe examination. Tim Southee and Trent Boult used the conditions, and a ball that was only five overs old, expertly, and made the batsmen play by moving the ball off straight lines and difficult lengths.

Southee struck in the first over, slanting a full delivery across the left-hand opener Tharanga Paranavitana, who drove at one he could have left. The ball bent back into him and hit the stumps off the inside edge. In his second over, Southee sent down a volley of outswingers and drew edges from night-watchman Suraj Randiv off successive deliveries. Brendon McCullum dropped the first at third slip, but Martin Guptill held the next at second.

At the other end, Boult beat Kumar Sangakkara by pitching around off stump from over the wicket, drawing the left-hand batsman forward, and seaming the ball away. He did this repeatedly, and eventually hit Sangakkara's edge. This time McCullum caught it in the cordon. Three wickets had fallen in four overs and Sri Lanka were 20 for 4.

Southee continued to test the right-handers. Another outswinger had Thilan Samaraweera cutting and edging past Ross Taylor at first slip, but it was the inswinger that dismissed him, after he offered no shot and was hit on the pad. Sri Lanka had lost four wickets in the first hour, and Angelo Mathews joined Mahela Jayawardene. The tide was about to turn.

The pressure was beginning to ease: the ball was older, and Southee and Boult were being eased out of the attack after their opening spells. New Zealand's support cast wasn't as threatening.

Doug Bracewell, the first-change seamer, immediately offered Jayawardene a short and wide ball that was cut for four, and after he changed ends, Mathews drove straight and through cover as well. Bracewell's day did not get better and he went for 67 in 16 wicketless overs. Jeetan Patel was brought on just before the lunch break and Jayawardene attacked him, skipping out of his crease and lofting over the midwicket boundary. Sri Lanka ended the first session on 105 for 5.

The second session was emphatically theirs - 85 runs and no wicket. There was almost no seam or swing movement in the afternoon and the batsmen progressed to their half-centuries. Jayawardene reached his off 76 balls, while Mathews slogged Patel for six and flicked Bracewell for four to get there off 70 deliveries. The 100-run stand came at more than four runs per over. So at ease was Mathews that he felt confident enough to reverse-swat Patel to the point boundary and eventually outscored his captain. At tea, the partnership was worth 140 and Sri Lanka were trailing by only 31.

Sri Lanka had moved within 15 runs of drawing level with New Zealand when James Franklin broke through, drawing an edge from Mathews to earn his first Test wicket since 2009. The hosts also lost Prasanna Jayawardene before the lead was taken and Mahela eventually took his team ahead via a reverse-swept boundary off Patel.

Patel, however, denied Mahela a hundred, when an attempted sweep resulted in the ball bobbing up off the glove and wicketkeeper Kruger van Wyk diving forward to take a sharp catch. Mahela walked before the umpire had revealed his decision. Sri Lanka were eventually dismissed for 247 and New Zealand were left with 12 overs to face in the fading light, 26 runs in arrears.

McCullum did not survive; he heaved at a turning short ball from Rangana Herath and was caught on the move by Nuwan Kulasekara at deep midwicket. It was a loss New Zealand could have avoided. Kane Williamson and Martin Guptill wiped out the remainder of the deficit and took their team nine runs ahead before stumps.

George Binoy is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Dhutugemunu on (November 19, 2012, 6:56 GMT)

Guys this game is not a clash of the titans. #6 SL vs #8 NZ. Once SL were at top 2 or 3 in the table with a balanced team. Now with out Murali and Vass they should rebuild bowling department. Winning against any team is important to climb the ladder back. SL will win. Cheers.

Posted by   on (November 19, 2012, 6:23 GMT)

Herath is playing a big role in Sl team after the retirement of Murali

Posted by corzaNZ on (November 19, 2012, 6:00 GMT)

Guptill, McCullum either desperately need to sort out their test match batting game or replace them, it is not good enough. Franklin and Van Wyk just flat out shouldnt be in the team. I am a proud Blackcaps fan and this is unbearable to watch the same thing over and over again

Posted by ajithabey on (November 19, 2012, 5:31 GMT)

good fight back by Mahela and Angelo who still could not convert their runs to hundreds. It's a pity that SL selectors do not persist with experienced Tharanga or in form chandimal as an opener especially when Dilshan is out through injury instead of throwing a newcomer to the wolves.The match itself might not last the 5 days as experienced in the past taking the current situation into account.

Posted by   on (November 19, 2012, 4:34 GMT)

its a shame Bredan did what he did but he is still a good fielder and asset to NZ, his average in this test is not bad at 40~ but he really needed to kick on to make 100. Ross Taylor has been dissapointing recently to say the least with the exception of his recent ODI 100 and will need to make a big score.. You get the feeling that the team that has a batsman making triple figures is going to be the team that wins it.

Posted by sandeepgla on (November 19, 2012, 3:53 GMT)

Sri Lanka will win the match.

Posted by BG4cricket on (November 19, 2012, 2:27 GMT)

I agree - Chandimal or Thuranga would be better options at opener than these 2 as they have demonstrated quality at international level. Guptill and Taylor will need big scores though if the Kiwis are to have a chance as the rest of the batting isn't really top quality.

Posted by Biggus on (November 19, 2012, 1:32 GMT)

Sounds like a good game in progress here.

Posted by BravoBravo on (November 19, 2012, 0:51 GMT)

I am loving the Test cricket. First the BD vs WI game turned out a very well fought contest. Now this match between NZ vs SL is turning out to be very exciting. @mateyman; I totally agree with your view about RUNFEST. @janoodot: You are right about strange selection policy by SL board. Good luck to SL and NZ both.

Posted by Min2000 on (November 19, 2012, 0:18 GMT)

As a New Zealander, its great to see our seam attack keeping us in the game again. But its time for the top order to earn their money and set a defendable target -- we're going to need 300-350 to put SL under pressure which means batting for at least 4 sessions. McCullum needs to bat at 6 (and keep wickets) as he's clearly NOT an opener.

Posted by   on (November 18, 2012, 23:20 GMT)

good to see mathews getting runs,,,, he is our last home, only hope

Posted by maddy20 on (November 18, 2012, 22:30 GMT)

Well played NZ. Shows SL are barely good enough to withstand the Kiwi pace battery. A target of over 250 means curtains for SL. If they cannot beat a team ranked no.8 in tests, who else can they beat?

Posted by BackfootNossyfan on (November 18, 2012, 21:23 GMT)

Love how complete the bowling performance was - barring some runs leaking in the middle session. Exceptional swing bowling destroyed the top order and Patel began to turn it towards the end to pick up middle and lower wickets. Brilliant stuff.

Posted by marlboro19 on (November 18, 2012, 19:20 GMT)

Southee is something special. It was evident when NZ toured Ind. I don't really like M. Jayawardene, but on a difficult pitch that was a sublime knock .

Posted by DuminduSL on (November 18, 2012, 16:37 GMT)

Surely 150 will be a tough chase for Sri Lanka.

Posted by   on (November 18, 2012, 15:54 GMT)

Always the same story. Openers fail miserably and middle order have to do a tough job. WHERE IS UPUL THARANGA? Y SLC y? Why are you wasting the guy?

Posted by nzcricket174 on (November 18, 2012, 15:35 GMT)

Excellent game of test cricket so far. This is why we love it. NZ makes early inroads, looking like they will get on a roll. Then two batsmen, Mahela and Mathews, both counter-attacked. Just when it looked like things were about to get of hand, one of them gets out and the balance once again tips. Test cricket is awesome when runs are hard to make.

Posted by Coolgye on (November 18, 2012, 15:13 GMT)

They should immediately drop Paranavitana and bring in Upul Tharanga and/or Dinesh Chandimal for excellent batting advantages.

Posted by Raj2000 on (November 18, 2012, 14:51 GMT)

janoodot and sampi72 are absolutely right! Quality players like Thisara Perera and Dinesh Chandimal are not included while mediocre players like Paranavitana gets chances after chances with repeated failures. Paranavitana has played 30 matches with an average of little over 30. Doesn't the selection committee take a look at statistics before selecting a player? If including Paranavitana is bad, not including Thisara Perara and Chandimal is absolutely heinous!

Posted by nilesh91 on (November 18, 2012, 14:50 GMT)

still thinks SL is too good team to lose against NZ at home. Sanga will come into play in second inning. Best of luck from an Indian Fan.

Posted by Raj2000 on (November 18, 2012, 14:38 GMT)

Dead heat?????? Hardly. NZ is well poised and in the driver seat on their way to winning the match. What is the winning recipe at Galle? Bat first, post a huge total, get a sizable lead and bowl the other team out on the worn out pitch. Whatever lead NZ gets, SL is going to have to chase that on a pitch that's breaking down. If they hadn't done well in their first innings on a good pitch, what are the chances that they'll do better in their second?

Posted by Ruban_Varathan on (November 18, 2012, 14:37 GMT)

Paranavithana is a proven failure in Test,then why selectors persisting with him for so long?? He even struggle to make half century in test,I dont understand the logic behind selectors....Board having said that chandimal been the future Sanga and Jayawardane for SL CKT then why they are not giving chance for chandimal....Making Double half centuries in debut test and that too against RSA in southafrican condition is not an easy task...soon selectors need to turn up for the change at serious......CHEERS.

Posted by stormy16 on (November 18, 2012, 14:03 GMT)

Two rounds and dead heat is the perfect headline. The key issue is the swinging ball with whcih NZ looked devastating while SL its all about spin. I thought SL did well Mahela and Mathews and should have got well ahead but Mathews, Prasana and Mahela all played poor shots to hand NZ the advantage. NZ would know the new ball will determine the outcome of the game on if SL are able to chase down a total. I would imagine any target over 240 will challenge SL as they would need to face two new balls getting there.

Posted by RobTay14 on (November 18, 2012, 13:44 GMT)

Great exhibition of new ball swing bowling by the kiwis.

I think SL have the batting edge, but NZ have the bowling edge.

Posted by KingOwl on (November 18, 2012, 12:37 GMT)

Upul Tharanga is not opening because his technique does not fit test cricket. He is fine in one day cricket where you do not have a ring of slip fielders and there are fielding restrictions. But in test cricket, it is different.

Posted by mateyman on (November 18, 2012, 11:33 GMT)

Test cricket as it should be played. A game which will have a result where runs are vital rather than a 500-a piece snore-fest

Posted by yorkslanka on (November 18, 2012, 11:01 GMT)

well said sampi...alsojanoodot, i agree, cant see a reason why tharanga isnt opening..

Posted by   on (November 18, 2012, 8:45 GMT)

Legends always are legends. Go Mahela go!!

Posted by janoodot on (November 18, 2012, 8:23 GMT)

I don't understand how Paranavithana still exists in the national team after continuous failed series. Why don't the selectors give chance to Upul Tharanga who had scored 12 ODI centuries?

Posted by sampi72 on (November 18, 2012, 8:17 GMT)

What a wonderful selection committee sri lanka is having......Dinesh Chandimal is dropped after scoring 67 in his last test as a opener ...Thisara perera is dropped after scored 75 runs and 4 wickets......

Posted by Sinhaya on (November 18, 2012, 7:54 GMT)

Great chance for Angelo to impress with the bat and also for Mahela to grab the record of having the highest number of test tons at home.

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George BinoyClose
George Binoy Assistant Editor After a major in Economics and nine months in a financial research firm, George realised that equity, capital and the like were not for him. He decided that he wanted to be one of those lucky few who did what they love at work. Alas, his prodigious talent was never spotted and he had to reconcile himself to the fact that he would never earn his money playing cricket for his country, state or even district. He jumped at the opportunity to work for ESPNcricinfo and is now confident of mastering the art of office cricket
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