Sri Lanka v New Zealand, 2nd Test, Colombo, 4th day November 28, 2012

NZ quicks using height well - Kulasekara

Height has been the key to the New Zealand fast bowlers' success at P Sara Oval, Sri Lanka seamer Nuwan Kulasekara said, as his team faces a steep climb to prevent the visitors from leveling the two-Test series. New Zealand set a target of 363, and four wickets late on day four have ensured victory is all but impossible for Sri Lanka, and even a draw is unlikely.

"They have the height and that's one reason they are able to get good bounce," Kulasekara said of New Zealand's quicks. "They swung the ball well and they have bowled very good lines and lengths as well. Most of the dismissals went to their fast bowlers and they are getting the rewards for bowling good channels and bowling fast."

New Zealand's fast bowlers have skittled Sri Lanka's top order in three out of four innings in this series, with the only exception being the 92-run chase in Galle, where the visitors took the field without their spearhead Tim Southee, who was resting a groin strain.

In the other innings, New Zealand had Sri Lanka 50 for 5, 12 for 3 and 46 for 4. Both New Zealand's opening bowlers, Southee and Trent Boult, have found appreciable, sometimes dramatic, swing in the air, while all three of their seam bowlers have also achieved good bounce, particularly in Colombo. Sri Lanka's seam pairing of Kulasekara and Shaminda Eranga have been mediocre in comparison, taking 5 wickets for 253 runs between them, and rarely troubling the opposition batsmen with movement or bounce. 

While New Zealand attacked with their fast bowlers, who have all but one of the 14 Sri Lankan wickets to fall in this match, Sri Lanka relied on the left-arm spin of Rangana Herath for penetration. He narrowly missed out on his second ten-wicket match haul, when New Zealand declared their second innings closed at 194 for 9. Herath finished with 9 for 170 from the match, taking his tally to 20 wickets.

"For our seam bowlers it is different, because Rangana is our strike weapon. Our job is to support him," Kulasekara said. Thilan Samaraweera and Angelo Mathews were at the crease at stumps on day four, with Sri Lanka needing 316 for victory. Kulasekara said the team was confident of batting out the day to protect their series lead, but that it would be a tough day, with Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara and Tillakaratne Dilshan all having been dismissed. 

"We are facing a tall order after losing four wickets, and we have to take it session by session tomorrow. The wicket is slow now, but if Thilan and Angelo get a partnership going, we'll be able to save the game. Tomorrow the ball will swing in the morning and we need to bat well in the first session. If we are able to do that we will be able to see a good Test match."

Andrew Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent

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  • Denham on November 29, 2012, 5:08 GMT

    Everyone has their day or match or whatever. For Sanga, this is not the series as he has lost his form. Even Mahela for that matter has lost his form. So, the coming month is not going to be an easy one either for our boys down under. Hope they will get back to their prime in time for the full series down under. ALL THE BEST TEAM SRI LANKA. Thanks

  • lananad on November 29, 2012, 2:55 GMT

    Game is not over yet. SL have done pretty well in the past even beat SA in SA. At least they did'nt lose 8-0 overseas. If SL lose this test they should blame team selection. I can't understand how Paranawithana is in the team. Dimuth looks a better player than him. Paranawithana will be a walking wicket in Australia. Wake up selectors..

  • Peter on November 29, 2012, 2:00 GMT

    Im enjoying a good performance form our Black Caps. Doing us proud lads. Great Batting Rossco, you seem to have discovered a calmness, and easy route to slowly accumulating runs.. and its just so easy to play on the ground. If you keep your technique and play straight as a first rule, with your hand eye coordination, you will become NZ's greatest ever batsman. Just keep training your mind to enjoy being out there and taking your time.

  • Dummy4 on November 28, 2012, 23:18 GMT

    Southee is at the top of his game so I would credit Southee more than saying bad things about the batsman. Sure the SL top order have been unlucky, I mean Boult has been just as impressive on his start in Test Cricket

  • Rahul on November 28, 2012, 17:48 GMT

    Leave Sanga alone I don't see any class test cricketer in SL team who can perform on all kind of wickets

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