Tom Latham is in the form of his life, in Tests. Having made 154 in the first innings to give New Zealand a chance of winning a rain-afflicted Test at P Sara, he now has a stunning four scores of over 150 in his last eight innings. Although his team has had a light Test schedule over the past two years, the opener has put up impressive numbers. He averaged 45.70 in 2017, 59.81 the next year and is now on 78.80 in 2019.

"I probably am in [the form of his career] if you look at the numbers," Latham said after his hundred in Colombo. "It's nice when you get to play a few series in a row, and we had that back home, and we had that back home. We've got a bit more Test cricket coming up at home, so hopefully my form continues.

I have been in the position where I've been under a little bit of pressure for my place, but it's nice to come out the back end of that

"I think it's just a mindset. There's time when you're put under pressure where you might feel you want to score, but it's about trying to wear the bowlers down and get them coming to your scoring areas. I have been in the position where I've been under a little bit of pressure, but it's nice to come out the back end of that. If those tough times come again, hopefully you can look back on these sorts of times, and try reflect on what went well."

Although often rated as one of New Zealand's best players of spin, Latham had had a modest series in the UAE last year, making a top score of 50. However, here, on a pitch taking significant turn here, he overcame a somewhat tetchy start to eventually play out 251 deliveries, putting on a 143-run partnership with BJ Watling.

"I've been in these kinds of conditions before in the likes of India, but to stick to a good plan over a long period of time in the heat and humidity was really good. The main thing was to build those partnerships with the guys and be in the position we are now.

"Sri Lanka have got spinners who turn it in, and who turn it away, so it's about nailing down a plan around which shots are low percentage shots against certain spinners, and to be able to do that over a long period of time was very nice."

Realistically, New Zealand are the only side capable of winning this Test, with a lead of 138 and five first-innings wickets still in hand. More rain tomorrow could wipe out the final wisps of hope for a result, but Latham said New Zealand still believe they have a chance.

"The ball's definitely still turning on this pitch. With the new ball it does tend to nip around a little bit. There's definitely enough in there for the bowlers. If we can apply enough pressure over a long period of time on Sri Lanka, then hopefully we can get those early wickets. On these sorts of surfaces things can happen quickly. Hopefully we can get a couple in a hurry."

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @afidelf