Sri Lanka v New Zealand, 1st Test, Galle, 1st day November 17, 2012

Herath five-for gives Sri Lanka control

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Sri Lanka 9 for 1 (Randiv 3*, Paranavitana 0*) trail New Zealand 221 (McCullum 68, Flynn 53, Herath 5-65, Eranga 3-51) by 212 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

New Zealand's troubles against spin refused to leave them. They had few answers against R Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha during the tour of India, and ran into Rangana Herath in Galle in conditions less lethal. Under sunny skies on a track good for batting, New Zealand failed to take advantage after winning the toss, allowing a disciplined Sri Lanka attack to first make inroads through pace before capitulating to Herath's left-arm spin. The assistance to the bowlers was limited, but a lack of patience from the batsmen combined with some probing bowling to produce enough mistakes that won Sri Lanka wickets and first-day honours.

The highlights for New Zealand on a disappointing day were half-centuries to Brendon McCullum and Daniel Flynn, who put together a 90-run stand after three wickets went down in the first hour. But just as the innings was gaining in momentum after lunch, Herath struck to trigger a collapse that was to fetch him his fourth haul of five or more wickets in Galle.

McCullum hasn't scored a Test century in two years, and the previous time Flynn scored a Test fifty was in August 2009. Today, the pair, for the bulk of their stay, batted with determination after having watched Martin Guptill caught driving inside the line, Ross Taylor bowled trying to defend outside the line and Kane Williamson snapped up behind to a needless poke. Shaminda Eranga, who replaced Chanaka Welegedera, picked up two of those wickets, the extra yard of pace, consistency on a good length and a bit of away movement all contributing to his success.

As they were trying to rebuild the innings, McCullum and Flynn had some moments of discomfort but were more watchful than their top order team-mates had been, leaving tricky deliveries outside off, covering the line well and defending solidly. And despite the attacking fields set - Flynn had three slips and two gullies at one stage - they were harsh on a steady dose of bad balls. Flynn cashed in on width by collecting boundaries through cover and point, improvised against spin by using the sweep, and pulled the slower of the seamers, Angelo Mathews, through midwicket.

The pull was the preferred attacking shot against spin for McCullum, who smashed four boundaries through square leg, one that took him past 4000 runs in Tests and another that sailed over the ropes. He welcomed Eranga in his new spell by cracking him through extra cover and then behind square for fours, and grew confident against Herath by stepping out and launching him for a straight six. But the bowler wasn't flustered. If the previous ball was tossed up and bowled on a length, he held back the next from round the wicket, and got it to turn away after it angled in, beating McCullum's bat to crash into off stump.

The turn on offer wasn't alarming but still significant for a first-day pitch, and McCullum's dismissal together with spin from both ends brought about a stagnation in New Zealand's innings that had been moving fluently until then. The next 13 overs yielded just 12 runs as well as the wicket of James Franklin, who was trapped in front by Herath. Flynn had occupied one end safely but his patience deserted him at the stroke of tea, when he chased a wide one from Herath to nick a catch to the wicketkeeper.

New Zealand have a long, inexperienced lower order whose ability to resist has not inspired much hope in recent times, but the last four wickets did put together 66 runs today. Doug Bracwell was caught at slip off a Herath delivery that kicked from a good length, and Kruger van Wyk, after working hard to get to 28, misjudged the length while trying to sweep and gave Herath his fifth wicket.

New Zealand got some encouragement with the early dismissal of the nervous debutant, Dimuth Karunaratne, who was lbw to an inswinger from Southee. The new ball swung around, came perilously close to the outside edge and promised more anxious moments for the Sri Lanka batsmen in the early part of the second innings. But that was a small victory for New Zealand on a day they won a good toss, only to finish with a below-par total.

Siddhartha Talya is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • rrandika on November 18, 2012, 4:41 GMT

    what a shame...again paranawithana gets a duck. 31 test maches 2 hundreds, 11 fifties & 9 ducks. where is Upul Tharanga.we want you in test maches.

  • Htc-Android on November 18, 2012, 0:52 GMT

    What a joke. they dismissed the debutant cheaply and all the Ind/nz fans are talking like Sri lanka wont survive more than 4 days. They have to remember sanga,mahela,samaraweera are yet to bat. Atleast one of them will make hundred and put sri lanka in a good position for sure.

  • dummy4fb on November 17, 2012, 23:48 GMT

    It looks like Sri Lanka will be all out for 90 in 50 overs, well done today NZ

  • dummy4fb on November 17, 2012, 21:20 GMT

    Karunarathne just got a good ball early. He has an opportunity to do better in the second innings.

    Guptill is not a test level opener. Again, he goes to hard at the ball. The pitch has decent bounce but that low delivery would not have carried to third slip had he played with soft hand and played it late. He really needs to work on these technical issues.

    I don't mind Herath taking some wickets but losing the top 3 to the swing bowlers was disappointing. Digging in until the ball stopped swinging would've made life much easier.

  • TrickyKid on November 17, 2012, 20:43 GMT

    Todd Astle should be in the team for Franklin who won't offer much as a forth seamer (apart from leaking runs) and doesn't provide much with the bat either.

  • gsingh7 on November 17, 2012, 17:17 GMT

    flat track bullies beat lanka 4-1 just few months back and 2-0 newzealand in last series , sl still need to do lot to come close, dont forget wc finals sl cricket needs changes

  • Ramanjit on November 17, 2012, 14:45 GMT

    Lot of hype about Dimuth Karunaratne but he earned a golden duck even before Rohan Abeysinghe finished his praise. Lolzzzzzzzz.

  • samlord on November 17, 2012, 14:00 GMT

    That awkward movement when Roshan abeysinghe boasted abt dimuth karunarathnne & SJC...gone for a golden duck..When does SL selectors gonna give due respect & chance to chandimal @ test level.Guy has proved his point in SA & australia ...

  • dummy4fb on November 17, 2012, 13:57 GMT

    SL keeping NZ for 221 is great. once again herath with his own style of taking wickets five-for ! Bad luck on this youngster Dimuth Karunarathne a golden duck to share with family n friends, its usual when a youngster with mountain of runs from school/ club/ A' team will struggle in tests. I would have gone with Upul Tharanga to partner Paranavithana. SL must score 300+ tomorrow. LIONS ROAR GRRRRRRR.............................

  • yorkslanka on November 17, 2012, 13:11 GMT

    tbh i dont know that much about NZ cricket but boult looks very good and with southee, their opening bowling looks good. the pitch looks like it will be a low scoring one, lets wait for those who moaned about our flat wickets,now moaning that we are preparing wickets that favour bowling too much...the batsmen have shown that if you work hard, it is possible to make a score on this track..looks to be an enthralling test...

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