Sri Lanka v New Zealand, 1st Test, Galle, 2nd day November 18, 2012

Six and out for McCullum, again

Plays of the Day from the second day of the first Test between Sri Lanka and New Zealand in Galle

The fielder's reprieve

Slip catches rarely come easier than Suraj Randiv's edge to Brendon McCullum in the seventh over of Sri Lanka's innings, but although the chance seemed to fall right into McCullum's lap, he grassed the catch after having got both hands to it. He was not left ruing his mistake for long though, as Southee bowled an almost identical delivery to draw an identical stroke from Randiv, only the batsman did better this time and the edge flew square of McCullum to Guptill, who completed the catch at second slip.

The bolt from the blue

Mahela Jayawardene and Angelo Mathews came together at 50 for 5, but saw out the new ball in the first session, before embarking on a steady recovery. They batted through the afternoon session and looked destined to make a hundred each, with none of New Zealand's bowlers troubling either batsman. James Franklin made an abrupt breakthrough soon after tea, however, and he did it with a delivery as innocuous as any he bowled in the day. Mathews drove at the length ball angled away and got a thin edge to the keeper, allowing New Zealand back into the match as they wrapped up the remaining wickets before too long.

The wasteful trend

On day one, Sri Lanka took the new ball in the 83rd over with one wicket to get and ended New Zealand's innings in just two balls, and New Zealand were just as wasteful with their second new ball on day two. Trent Boult had Shaminda Eranga caught, again off the second delivery with the new ball. Perhaps after a little spit-shine, New Zealand can be handed the same ball in the second innings, and they will be none the wiser.

The near déjà vu

McCullum departed immediately after having hit Rangana Herath for six in the first innings, and but for one delivery defended on the back foot, he would have done so again. McCullum rocked back to wallop Herath over midwicket in the third over of the second innings, before he tried the same shot two balls later, but got a top edge that hung in the air long enough for Nuwan Kulasekara to accept, running around from deep square leg.

The soft dismissal

Kulasekara offered the simplest return catch Jeetan Patel might ever receive, when he tapped a regulation offbreak back at the bowler. The ball looped so gently that Patel had only to move with the urgency he might show when picking a wildflower on a Sunday afternoon stroll. The words of CLR James come to mind. If eight-year-old Patel was thrown that catch, he would pass it back and ask to please be thrown a proper one.

Andrew Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's correspondent in Sri Lanka