Sri Lanka v NZ, 2nd Test, Colombo, 3rd day November 27, 2012

Sri Lanka fight back on slow day


Sri Lanka 225 for 6 (Mathews 47, Samaraweera 76*, Southee 4-51) trail New Zealand 412 by 187 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Sri Lanka were still a long way off from matching New Zealand's score at the end of the third day, but gained a psychological boost by edging past the follow-on target of 213, thanks to a dogged stand between Thilan Samaraweera and Suraj Randiv. New Zealand would have fancied their chances of bundling out the hosts before that target and possibly making them bat again, but were held up by the pair and the fading light in Colombo that forced an early finish with another 25 overs remaining.

It was attritional cricket on the third day, because of the pressure created by the loss of wickets before lunch and shortly after. Like Ross Taylor and Kane Williamson had done on day two, Angelo Mathews and Tharanga Paranavitana kept the bowlers at bay for the majority of the morning session, but couldn't hold their guard till the break. Tim Southee's opening spell on the second evening gave New Zealand the initiative, and he proved to be just as incisive with the older ball, removing the set pair and making Sri Lanka's march towards the follow-on target a little tougher.

Samaraweera and Randiv came together at 128 for 6, after Prasanna Jayawardene top-edged a sweep to fine leg after lunch. The pair focused on wearing down the spinners, at a time when the seamers - Southee in particular - were given a rest. Randiv, who was shaky as a nightwatchman in Galle, appeared more at ease in his familiar position down the order and focused on supporting Samaraweera.

Samaraweera, who had injured his finger while fielding on the first day, didn't appear in discomfort against the ball that turned and bounced. All his boundaries in the second session came off Doug Bracewell, including a delicate dab wide of gully, a square cut and a flick past midwicket. Bracewell looked out of his depth, either bowling too short or too full. Bracewell likes to hit the deck hard but he often strayed too wide of the off stump. He failed to create chances, like Southee and Trent Boult had done. At one stage, he ran in from round the wicket with a slip, short leg, silly point and leg slip but Randiv was happy to evade the short balls.

Patel got turn and bounce off the rough and Samaraweera wasn't afraid to cut against the turn. The sluggish outfield and sweepers on either side of the wicket checked the scoring, but Sri Lanka eventually got past the follow-on mark, via an edged boundary past slip. New Zealand waited to take the new ball after tea, but couldn't break the partnership, which had extended to 97 before the umpires took a call on the light.

The majority of the morning session had been just as frustrating for New Zealand. It was a steady build by Mathews and Paranavitana, who gave the seamers some respect earlier in the morning with the movement on offer. Paranavitana needed a good innings to gain some more confidence ahead of a tough tour of Australia, and was strong square of the wicket, cutting Boult and Bracewell past point. Mathews offered the full face of the bat with his straighter drives. Mathews greeted Patel with a massive six over long-on but the bowler nearly had him leg before on 36 with one that pitched on middle and looked quite adjacent to the leg stump. Also, Ross Taylor fluffed a straightforward catch at first slip to give Paranavitana a life.

Southee's second spell changed the complexion of the morning. He ensured that dropped chance didn't cost much as he drew Paranavitana forward and induced an edge to Kruger van Wyk. Southee managed to squeeze in one more wicket, in his following over, when he got Mathews driving and edging behind. What looked like a regulation fourth-slip catch was taken spectacularly by Martin Guptill at third slip, diving full length to his right.

New Zealand picked up just one more wicket, shortly after lunch, and then failed to dislodge the seventh-wicket pair. They would have to make the new ball count on the fourth morning and secure a big enough lead before setting a target for the hosts to chase on the fifth day. They will also be fighting against time, given that all three days have been curtailed by the elements.

Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Merv on November 28, 2012, 5:15 GMT

    Is there no one else who can bowl in Sri Lanka, except for Herath and then overseas, he seems toothless? They seemed to have good fast bowlers at one time, unlike India.

  • Ajith on November 28, 2012, 5:11 GMT

    Inept batting by the Trio - Mahela,Sanga and Dilshan caused all the worries for Sri Lanka.It was however good to see Thilan & the rest fighting it out against some good fast bowling and intelligent spin bowling on a placid wicket.I think it is time for Dilshan to bat lower in the order instead of sacrificing his wicket up front with his cowboy style of batting which creates so much pressure for the other batsman to follow.The trio should take a lesson from Michael Clark,Chanderpaul,Mike Hussey and even younger players like Darren Bravo and Pujara on how to play for the team.Hopefully we will see a good match buliding up in the event NZ fold up tamely in the second innings.

  • Dummy4 on November 28, 2012, 4:45 GMT

    at least our curators are better than indian curators!! NO offence Dhoni. :D we give bouncy and spinning pitches. which gives an advantage for visitors too, anyway it was a marvelous game of test cricket than pathetic T20. good to see kiwis fighting hard. but their spin attacking is not that effective. i wonder why not N.mcculum. nway hoping for a good complete game. than weather interrupted one.

  • nalin on November 28, 2012, 2:58 GMT

    Please do not mislead. Samaraweera is a batting allrounder from the beginning, itself

  • Janaka on November 28, 2012, 1:50 GMT

    I think Sri Lanka gave a very good example to most of the countries by providing a fair pitch. Sri Lankan soil is different than what we see in P Sara Oval. It's low and turning. But, for New Zealand, a team having their power in pace attack, Sri Lanka provided a pitch where it bounce. Southee's figures speak for the fairness. I don't know whether it's too much towards bounce, but anyhow, it seems rather a fair way. I love to see this sort of fight back by Sri Lankan team, or any team. Faf Du Plesis gave a fine example recently. It was unbelievable. If we can see something like that, do we really need to wipe out Test matches? I think it's rather competitive than typical ODI's. It measures how quality you are, how calm, quiet in your mind, how technically sound you are, so and so...

  • Dummy4 on November 27, 2012, 20:59 GMT

    Why would SL need a specialist wicketkeeper who cannot bat? In 60+ innings, guy only has 4 (100's) and 4 (50's). They should have played Thirimanne and give the gloves to Chandimal.

  • Tom on November 27, 2012, 17:40 GMT

    New Zealand should but McCullum and Guptil on plane back home. they're overated especially McCullum who has contributed little with the bat but boost a big ego. Bring in some yonger fresh players for the next test. Go Sri Lanka, try to fight to win the game and not just settle for the series win, you can do it given the batting line-up of New Zealand. Fair play to Taylor and Williamson, they showed the rest of the batsmen how it should be done. Good to see Flynn make a good contribution, deserves his place in the team. Southee, what can I say except that you have been great!

  • Kevin on November 27, 2012, 17:20 GMT

    Meanwhile... ...back in NZ, Adam Milne takes huge hauls of wickets and even scores 97 with the bat. Bracewell, your days are numbered going on current form. Why Milne gets to bowl on dead T20 tracks but isn't given a go in tests is beyond me. At top pace he would have put SL under some real pressure after Southee and Boult. Bracewell is just serving up medium pace rubbish at the moment.

  • Dummy4 on November 27, 2012, 17:13 GMT

    Are we seeing the slow and painful DEATH of Test Cricket? The stadiums are empty and wonder who is supporting this form of Cricket now? Sad but we have to come to a realization and conclusion that prolonging the misery is not good for the game.

  • Suss on November 27, 2012, 17:04 GMT

    Thilan Samaraweera has the best technique against pace bowling in the Sri lankan team, even better than Sangakkara's. His two centuries against SA in SA early this year proved it. Some people forget that he had a bullet wound in his thigh during the terrorist attacks in pakistan, yet it didn't distrupt his batting at all. Very underrated player.

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