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Sri Lanka 84-0 at stumps against New Zealand

By AP - Dec 27,2014 - Last updated at Dec 27,2014

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand — Openers Dimuth Karunarate and Kaushal Silva led Sri Lanka’s fightback on the second day of the first cricket Test Saturday as it followed on 303 runs behind New Zealand after being dismissed for 138 in its first innings.

Karunaratne and Silva shrugged off their failures in the first innings, in which they were dismissed for 0 and 4 inside the first five overs, and led Sri Lanka to 84 without loss at stumps, still 219 behind New Zealand’s first innings of 441.

Silva was 33 not out and Karunaratne unbeaten on 49.

Sri Lanka’s first innings was undone by outstanding swing bowling by Trent Boult (3-25), and Tim Southee (2-17). Neil Wagner (3-60) and Jimmy Neesham (2-28) then wrapped up Sri Lanka’s innings in less than 3-1/2 hours.

“To get through them for 138 and force them to follow on was good,” Boult said. “To get a couple more wickets would have been nice but obviously the boys bowled tremendously well. There are still three days to go, three big days, and we’re looking forward to those.”

New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum, whose 195 underpinned his team’s first innings total, had no hesitation in enforcing the follow on, believing his leading bowlers were still fresh and conditions at Hagley Oval still offered swing and seam movement.

But the pitch seemed to have lost some of its venom when it was rolled between innings, the New Zealand bowlers were less directed and the Sri Lanka openers more focused.

Boult and Southee had found pronounced movement in the air at the start of Sri Lanka’s first innings and none of their leading batsmen showed the technique or restraint to cope with that challenge. Karunaratne and Silva were both out lbw to Boult, caught in front of their stumps by balls that swung back at them late.

Veteran Kumar Sangakkara, in what might be his last Test, was undone by an outswinger from Boult which elicted a drive but no foot movement and provided a catch to Southee at third slip. Sangakkara started his 129th Test match with 11,988 runs — needing 12 runs to become the fifth player in history to exceed 12,000 runs in Tests. But he fell for six and left that historic moment to his team’s second innings.

“It came out pretty nicely in the first innings,” said Boult. “The ball came out of the hand pretty nicely and it seamed around a bit as well. Those are the conditions and those of the spells you dream of and it was good to get through a couple.”

Captain Angelo Mathews, who took 3-39 as Sri Lanka quickly ended New Zealand’s first innings on the second morning, batted superbly to top-score with 50 in his team’s first innings.

He had limited support, but Lahiru Thirimanne (24) stayed with him to add 43 for the fourth wicket, stemming the early collapse.

Mathews reached his 19th half century in Tests from 83 balls with three fours and two sixes. He moved to 50 runs with a four and six off consecutive balls from Wagner but was out two balls later as he tried to reverse Sri Lanka’s dire predicament through aggressive stroke play.

New Zealand resumed its first innings at 429-7 Saturday and Sri Lanka needed only 26 minutes and 5.2 overs to capture its last three wickets for 12 runs. That set the stage for a first session in which six wickets fell for 50 runs as Sri Lanka’s decline set in.

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