When he lost the toss, Kumar Sangakkara said a team that couldn't win chasing under the low Dambulla floodlights, which is a tall order, was not a good team. Big words all right, but ones his side backed up. It was Angelo Mathews who started the backing up, taking three wickets for 36 in a spell of smart seam bowling.
On a helpful pitch, Lasith Malinga was too good, and Mathews canny in keeping New Zealand down to 192. When compared to the spells of Malinga and Kulasekara, Mathews might have looked innocuous, but he produced the wicket-taking deliveries, which matters.
The innings began with a no-ball, but in the same over Malinga consumed Martin Guptill through a leading edge. Kulasekara extracted massive seam movement from the other end. It was all about survival, but Sangakkara suddenly removed Malinga after a spell of 3-1-9-1.
With Mathews came slight release of pressure. In his first two overs Mathews went for three consecutive boundaries, over the on side in the seventh and twice through the off side in the ninth. In his third over, though, Mathews made a smart comeback.
Taylor, who is good at moving across the stumps and still managing to make contact, was slightly slow on this occasion, and was caught plumb in front. As opposed to Kulasekara's deliveries, this one from Mathews wasn't predictable, and came in just enough to be hitting the stumps. Two balls later, Mathews floated a wide half-volley, which Kane Williamson edged because his feet were rooted. With the first delivery of his spell back, he removed the half-centurion BJ Watling.