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

Sri Lanka fight back on slow day

The Report by Kanishkaa Balachandran

November 27, 2012

Comments: 22 | Text size: A | A

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

Thilan Samaraweera plays it through the off side, Sri Lanka v New Zealand, 2nd Test, Colombo, 3rd day, November 27, 2012
Thilan Samaraweera dropped anchor and ensured Sri Lanka passed the follow-on mark © Associated Press

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

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Mervo 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.

Posted by ajithabey 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.

Posted by   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.

Posted by kithasan on (November 28, 2012, 2:58 GMT)

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

Posted by Prabhash1985 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...

Posted by   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.

Posted by moonfax 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!

Posted by Lermy 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.

Posted by   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.

Posted by Perera32 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.

Posted by stormy16 on (November 27, 2012, 16:53 GMT)

Yet another poor show by the SL batters and in conditions they are expected to excel. They have done well to fight back to avoid the follow on but are still nearlly 200 short of the NZ target with a bowler already at the wicket. Southee did a great job as he did in the first test gave NZ a real chance. NZ still have a chance to win the game but they missed an opportunity after having SL12/3 with the big three out of the way. Mathews and Para had a great oportunity to get big runs and it was awfully dissappointing to see them both fail.

Posted by Cricthink on (November 27, 2012, 15:51 GMT)

Good to see the lower order fight back. Mathews has matured and shares the responsibility. It's easy to score a 100 or 50 when the score is 300+ for 3 , not so when you are walking in at 12 for 3 with 200 + to avoid follow on. Samarae had been always the unsung hero and plays well under presure. The weather playing spoil sport looks like this one is heading for a draw, Sl should get closer to the Kiwin score, now that the follow on is off. Southee and Boult are a good pair and we will see them play a key roll in the seasons to come. Taylor finally clicked and hope he plays well in England. Australia will be a different game all together. With a Boxing day test for SL it will be presure... presure ..presure...... Sanga and Mahela will be the foundation SL will have to buld. With fewer tests in 2013 ( 4 at the most ) lets make most of it.

Posted by Karnain on (November 27, 2012, 15:51 GMT)

@Prabhash1985 Absolutely correct about Samaraweera. Today I heard he's asking Randiv to watch out for the yorker when he negotiated successive bouncers from Boult & Bracewell. Apart from his century, let's also wish him speedy recovery from his finger injury (if he still suffers from it) as he has a vital role to play against Australia.

Posted by Sinhaya on (November 27, 2012, 15:20 GMT)

@buncers, you can expect Sanga, Mahela and Dilshan all 3 to fail occasionally. Sanga played a rash shot and with him failing in 2 innings, he will be determined to do well in Australia. Mahela is the worry. I feel Angelo too will do well in Australia. Samaraweera seems the best under pressure. After being dropped for the UAE tour last year, he excelled in South Africa.

Posted by Sinhaya on (November 27, 2012, 15:15 GMT)

Southee will certainly do well in England when NZ tours there late May next year. Bracewell seems unable to do much in the Sub Continent. NZ pace bowling attack seems good enough for tests but batting remains the biggest concern. They should have played BJ Watling rather than useless Van Wyk as Watling handled Herath well in the ODIs.

Posted by moonfax on (November 27, 2012, 12:47 GMT)

This would be a great comeback from Sri Lanka if they keep New Zealand abay. The 7th wicket is doing a good job thus far, however they will only fight for a daw like Mahela did earlier in the year when they could easily have won they decided to play for a draw. I'm afraid New Zealand have fluttered away any chance of a win. This probably would have been the only time they would have got a win against a great team. They should have bowled Sri Lanka out during the 3rd day and then put more runs on the board (upto 500) and made Sri Lanka bat after lunch tomorrow and then try to bat them out. It would be awesome to see Sri Lanka comeback from behind, it will give something to look forward to for the remainder of this match. There just isnt enough fight in the New Zealad camp to win this or any other match, given the weather situation as well they are leaving it pretty late to prove us wrong.

Posted by Prabhash1985 on (November 27, 2012, 11:34 GMT)

I remember what Chandimal said about batting with Thilan Samaraweera. He said, Samaraweera is a very nice guy, and it's so nice to have him in the other side when batting. He said, Samaraweera makes some jokes, such as when a boundary is hit by Chandimal, he says "wow, that's like Aravinda"... so and so... So, I think it's the same thing here with Suraj. It's so nice to see Randiv playing a nice innings, and I wish he goes for a century stand. He can do it. Good luck. And I, of course, wish for a century for Samaraweera.

Posted by buncers on (November 27, 2012, 11:24 GMT)

Why can't Sri Lanka bat on their own turf. Surely there are no real gremlins on Sri Lanka pitches that they don't know about. All the NZs are doing is swinging the ball, which most Sri Lankan "pace bowler" do in the same conditions.

Why does Samo only score runs when the rest of the team fails - good we have him.

I wonder what sort of pitch best suite the top order SL bat, they don't seem to be in SL.

Posted by mansoor777 on (November 27, 2012, 11:22 GMT)

Samarweera is the best bestman in srilankan team. he is been underestimated

Posted by SL.Chathura on (November 27, 2012, 11:21 GMT)

good fighting match from both side...good sprite of cricket

Posted by   on (November 27, 2012, 10:58 GMT)

come on SL.. good repair-work 225-6 look far betta than 128-6. go lions go !!!

Posted by siddhartha87 on (November 27, 2012, 7:13 GMT)

GO SOUTHEE!!!After seeing his recent performances in India and Sri Lanka I have no doubt that he is up there with best

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