At Christchurch, March 4, 5, 6. New Zealand won by an innings and 25 runs. The first day, when the start was delayed by two and a half hours and New Zealand were sent in, was the only one which the Sri Lankans could view with satisfaction. At the end of it New Zealand had struggled to 217 for seven.

New Zealand started well enough, Turner marking his return to Test cricket after six years with a stream of well-timed shots. The early bowling was loose, New Zealand taking 32 from the opening five overs. But at 171 for seven New Zealand were in trouble. Coney and Lees, however, saw the first day out and were in fine form next morning. Coney's 84 was his highest Test score. Sri Lanka's grip was further loosened by partnerships between Lees and Snedden and then Lees and Chatfield. Lees finished with 89, the only time he had passed 50 in a Test except when making 152 against Pakistan at Karachi in 1976.

Sri Lanka's first innings consisted almost entirely of Sidath Wettimuny, who carried his bat (210 minutes) for 63. There was also an attractive 34 in 52 minutes from Madugalle. Wettimuny made little effort late in the innings to protect his less able partners and Sri Lanka failed by only 1 run to save the follow-on. Their second innings was hardly happier. Fighting qualities were shown by De Silva, who survived 150 minutes despite needing a runner, and there was some resolution from Fernando, but little else. It was only the second time New Zealand had won a Test by an innings.