Sports News from Sri Lanka: Stumps New Zealand 203 for 5 (Taylor 70*, Santner 8*, Akila 5-57) vs Sri Lanka Ross Taylor’s counter-punching innings kept New Zealand alive at the end of an odd day for the visitors, most of whom seemed in control, except for the periods immediately preceding the breaks.
Off-spinner Akila Dananjaya was responsible for this, taking all five wickets from New Zealand to drop on the day before dinner and tea over two mini-collapses.
A third such passage was not open before stumps because heavy rain meant play was called off soon after tea, which meant that 22 overs were lost. After the first-session crash of New Zealand-64 for 0 to 71 for 3-Taylor’s assault and his century stand with Henry Nicholls seemed to have finished the game, before Akila returned to finish a five-for, trapping both Nicholls and BJ Watling in front as they appeared to cross the line in the last 15 minutes of the session.
Akila was out of the attack and in the first session a scoring rate of just over 2.3 was steadily outdone with a session rate closer to 3.5, with after the initial few hardly any risks required.
The defensive ploy of Captain Dimuth Karunaratne particularly impacted Embuldeniya, which Taylor obviously frazzled. During the morning session, the left-arm spinner was not permitted to throw the ball up and settled into striking the back of the column with a flatter trajectory, a technique shown by Akila was not viable on this pitch.
The pressure increased even further, with the spell of Akila lasting only five overs, efficiently putting the burden of managing the run-scoring on a 22-year-old in his third test, neutralizing even Dhananjaya de Silva’s mildly more experienced bowling.