2nd Test, Hamilton

New Zealand v Sri Lanka, 2015-16


New Zealand, with the series trophy after a 2-0 swep, New Zealand v Sri Lanka, 2nd Test, Hamilton, 4th day, December 21, 2015
New Zealand completed a 2-0 whitewash of Sri Lanka in the Test series © Getty Images
Enlarge
Related Links

At Hamilton, December 18-21, 2015. New Zealand won by five wickets. Toss: New Zealand.
Two years previously, New Zealand had been alarmed to find the Seddon Park pitch dry, and providing help to West Indies' spinners. There was no such problem this time: coach Mike Hesson's pre-series call for green surfaces had been heard loud and clear. Not since India's tour of 2002-03, when the third day featured parts of all four innings, had the Hamilton pitch looked quite so similar to the outfield. As often happens in New Zealand, though, it didn't offer as much seam movement as the verdancy suggested, but the new track - relaid the previous year - still ensured a spicy time for batsmen. Steep bounce was their greatest enemy, prompting spectacular collapses and sore fingers on both sides. But Williamson's class told, coolly guiding New Zealand home, despite a fine display from the speedy Chameera.

Their bowlers had tried too hard after being given first use of the inviting green carpet - the 16th Test in a row in New Zealand in which the captain winning the toss had bowled first - and Sri Lanka's total of 292 looked competitive. Kusal Mendis, in only his third Test, had an exciting time: dropped second ball by Taylor at slip, he had advanced to 20 when Bracewell hit the off stump hard (replays showed it moving) but the bail refused to drop.

Mendis made it to 31 before edging Southee again, and Watling caught it. Chandimal scored a breezy 47, but Mathews and Siriwardene tucked in as Wagner overdid the short stuff. Both collected three sixes, and cracked 138 in 30 overs before Boult claimed two in an over. Running out of partners, Mathews poked to third slip, and the innings soo closed, just short of 300 rather than well past it, as had seemed likely at one stage. Guptill and Latham put on 81, helped by Mathews's mysterious reluctance to try Chameera, his fastest bowler. He eventually came on as third change, immediately after lunch, and had Latham caught at leg gully in his second over. Williamson followed in his next, skying a pull, and Taylor edged a fizzer in the one after that. With Herath removing Guptill in between, New Zealand had lost four for eight.

In his 99th Test - all consecutive from debut, breaking A. B. de Villiers's record - McCullum buckled down, surviving 80 minutes for 18; the promising Santner followed suit, making 38 in two and a half hours. Bracewell hung around too, but Chameera finished with five for 47 as Sri Lanka took a lead of 55, and sniffed a chance of squaring the series. Chameera's success, however, had shown New Zealand what to do, and the Sri Lankans were subjected to a short-pitched barrage on the springy surface. Karunaratne and Mendis started brightly with a stand of 71, but after that the bounce began to play on the batsmen's minds, and all ten wickets tumbled for 62 in 14 overs. Southee claimed seven wickets in the match, and 13 in the series. A fascinating Test had been turned on its head, as New Zealand eyed a target of 189 to maintain their unbeaten home Test record since losing to South Africa in March 2012 - here at Hamilton.

Chameera was given the new ball this time, and by the end of his third over had removed both openers. It was game on. Williamson, though, was equal to the task: he had learned from his brief first innings, and now shelved the pull or hook when Chameera dropped short. In tricky conditions, with the match on the line, it was another batting masterclass - driving, cutting, deflecting.

He added 67 with Taylor, and 52 with McCullum - both falling to Chameera, who ended with nine in the match. But he could not confound Williamson a second time, and his 13th Test century ensured New Zealand's 2-0 series triumph. This innings briefly took him to the top of the ICC rankings for Test batsmen, having scored 1,172 Test runs, eight more than McCullum's previous national record from the year before. New Zealand had now gone 13 home Tests without defeat, equalling their longest such run, between 1986-87 and 1990-91. This was their fourth win in a row at home, all against Sri Lanka.
Man of the Match: K. S. Williamson.

© John Wisden & Co