Seamers caught us by surprise - Ford
Sri Lanka coach Graham Ford has said the swing New Zealand's seam bowlers generated caught Sri Lanka by surprise on the second morning in Galle. Tim Southee reaped three wickets for 18 from his first spell of seven overs, while Trent Boult took the wicket of Kumar Sangakkara at the other end. Both bowlers moved the ball considerably, with Southee, in particular, finding vicious swing in the air in addition to deviation off the seam.
Sri Lanka resumed on 9 for 1, after debutant left hander Dimuth Karunaratne had been trapped in front for a duck by a Southee inswinger the previous evening, and they were reduced to 50 for 5 inside the first hour on day two. The other opener, Tharanga Paranavitana was also dismissed for zero, and neither nightwatchman Suraj Randiv, nor Kumar Sangakkara made it out of single-figures.
"This morning they swung it considerably and more than we expected," Ford said. "It was a lovely clear morning and we didn't think it would move as much as it did, when they bowled. It perhaps did catch us a little bit by surprise."
Despite bowling which often bordered on unplayable, Sri Lanka found regular boundaries in the first hour and maintained a much better run rate than New Zealand did during their innings on day one. Ford said the hosts had not been too aggressive in their approach during the opening spell.
"It's always easy to say that they could have played tighter, sitting on the sidelines, but everybody who watched closely realised they did bowl very well.
"It's a fine balance. If you can get a few balls away, it changes their length and once they change their length they don't swing it much. You can't just be negative about the way you play. You've still got to look for scoring options. I think we stayed positive in our play."
Sri Lanka recovered through a 156-run partnership between Angelo Mathews and Mahela Jayawardene, as the pair saw out the swinging new ball and batted through the second session. When they were only five wickets down and 15 runs behind New Zealand's first-innings score, Sri Lanka might have had their sights set on a large first innings lead, but Mathews' demise heralded another poor period for Sri Lanka, and they finished only 26 runs ahead in the first innings.
"We would have been certainly happy for a bigger lead but again you can't be greedy when you are 20-4 and 50-5. At that stage you think you're going to be a little bit behind. We've got to be grateful for the work the guys did, and we've got to give credit to New Zealand who did bowl fantastically well up front and kept the pressure on the whole way through the innings.
"It was a brilliant fightback by Mahela and Angelo which has got us right into the game, and we've everything to play for in the morning. The game's very even at the moment."
New Zealand finished the day nine runs in the lead, with nine wickets in hand, and Ford said his side had not worked out a maximum target that it would like to chase in the fourth innings. "At this stage it's about making sure that disciplines and our skills are really good with the ball. We have to bowl really well and we have to make New Zealand fight really hard for every single run they want to set for us to chase. At this stage it's more about taking it one session at a time looking at the big picture."
Andrew Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's correspondent in Sri Lanka