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Monday, 19 November 2012

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Herath and Randiv can put pressure on the Kiwis:

Jayewardene 91 and Mathews 79 help Sri Lanka recover

After a grand stand of 156 for the 6th wicket between Mahela Jayewardene 91 and Angelo Mathews 79 which helped in a recovery, New Zealand hit back strongly to dismiss Sri Lanka for 247 conceding a slender lead of runs 26 runs. In the 10 overs possible on the second day of the First Test,New Zealand wiped off the arrears making 35 for one, and lead by 9 runs.As it stands the game is wide open and shows signs of finishing on the fourth day.

The wicket is taking spin and Rangana Herath and Suraj Randiv have a good opportunity to bowl Sri Lanka to victory. The Kiwis can turn this Test in their favour if they can gain a lead of anything between 200 and 250.

Jayewardene who seemed set for another century tried to pull Patel and top edged to wicket the keeper for 91. He played his usual signature square cuts and cover dives in hitting a six and 11 fours.

There was brilliant shining on the second day as it did on the first day which was a sign that a full day’s cricket could be played, which was good because a good Sunday crowd was expected to watch Sri Lanka’s big batting guns fire.


Angelo Mathews plays a shot during the second day of the opening Test Match between Sri Lanka and New Zealand at the Galle International Cricket Stadium in Galle on November 18, 2012. AFP

After dismissing the New Zealanders for 221 just before the close on day one thanks to the clever spin of left armer Rangana Herath and the right arm seam of Nuwan Kulesekera and Shamindra Eranga, the Lankans had to bat sensibly and consolidate.

The Lankans had to bat for two days, run up a big score and let the Kwis sink or swim.But hen play began on the second day, the Lankans were in for a shock when seam bowlers Tim Southee and Trent Boult unleashed a damaging spell of seam and swing bowling.

While Southee was moving the ball both ways, Boult was concentrating on the one that swings in, which was an ‘outer’ to the left handers and one of the most difficult arts to for ‘lefties’ to face. Both were bowling with a lot of pace.

Very good prospect

Boult in particular looks a very good prospect. He seems to have benefitted immensely since coming under former Sri Lanka seam and swing champion and now unwanted by Sri Lanka cricket Chaminda Vaas.

Vaas is helping Shane ‘James’ Bond the former Kiwi speed merchant in coaching the New Zealand bowlers. It was a smart move by the New Zealand cricket authorities.

Southee and Boult knocked the stuffings out of the Sri Lanka batting in the morning with some hostile bowling. First to go at the overnight score of 9 was Tharanga Paranavithana who attempting to drive the 4th ball of the morning from Southee played on. 9 for 2.

Suraj Randiv who seems a poor night watchman against the moving ball, after scratching around for 9, was caught at second slip by Martin Guptil off Southee. 18 for 3.

Prized scalp

Two runs later the Kiwis had the prized scalp of left hander Kumar Sangakkara. Boult after beating him a couple of times forced him to tickle one to Brendon McCullum at third slip after making 5. 20 for 4.Sangakkara’s previous best score on this ground was 199 not out against Pakistan a few months back.

After putting on 30 runs for the 5th wicket with Mahela Jayawardene, Thilan Samaraweera who was looking aggressive in making 17, offered no stroke to a Southee delivery and saw the dreaded finger of umpire Marias Erasmus go up. 50 for 5 and on the skids.

Captain and Vice Captain Mahela Jayewardene and Angelo Mathews then joined forces to perform a rescue act and take Sri Lanka to lunch without further loss and on 105 for 5 putting on 55, still 116 runs behind.

Jayewardene was on 37 and Mathews on 23. Southee who engineered the morning collapse had figures of 4 for 19. Southee deserved more for his perseverance and excellent accuracy.

Full of drama

While the pre lunch session was full of drama with Sri Lanka losing 4 early wickets for 41 and the Kiwis enjoying a good first hour, then Jayewardene and Mathews settled down and playing watchful cricket went to lunch.

With the wicket tending to play easy after lunch there was no further success for the Kiwis as Jayewardene and Mathews cemented their sixth wicket stand (probably on Zuari Cement) one of the sponsors of the Test series.

Aware of the responsibility that lay on their shoulders, the two experienced batsmen batted with great patience and discipline to deprive the Kiwis of any further success and scoring when the opportunities came. Jayewardene was first to 50 in 106 minutes off 76 balls with a six and 7 fours. Mathews followed soon after to his 50 in 10 minutes with a six and 7 fours. Both sixes were hit between mid wicket and mid on.

Post lunch session

The batsmen took tea with Jayewardene on 68 and Mathews on 76 and the total on 190 for 5, a stand of 85 in the post lunch session. In the pre lunch session they put on 55. At tea their stand was worth 140. Still 31 runs behind.

In the 29th minute after tea success finally came the Kiwis way when left arm medium bowler induced Mathews to snick a ball to wicket keeper Wyk after making 79. 206 for 6.

Mathews was particularly strong off his legs and the boundaries he hit to mid wicket were well timed. He helped Jayewardene put on 156 for the 6th wicket and bring Sri Lanka back into the picture. His 79 included a six and 12 fours in 210 minutes off 154 balls.

Then nine runs later Prasanna Jayewardene played his now famous sweep shot off Jetan Patel and holed out to Doug Bracewell at square leg for 4. 215 for 7. It was an irresponsible shot from the batsman. Galle International Stadium, Sunday.

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