SL vs NZ: Five talking points from New Zealand’s victory in 2nd Test

New Zealand

New Zealand clinched a comprehensive victory over Sri Lanka by an innings and 65 runs at P Sara Oval, Colombo to level the two-match series. After rain interruptions, the home team needed to survive the final day in order to save the series but the Blackcaps managed to take all ten wickets. Both teams earned 60 points in the World Test Championship after the drawn series.

Also read: Ben Stokes 135 not out – A knock for the Ashes

In the five-day game, there were quite a few memorable performances. Here are the best of them.

Dhananjaya de Silva’s ton

On the opening day of the Test, New Zealand were all over Sri Lanka with their pace pair of Southee-Boult wrecking through the batting lineup. At 130/6, a total beyond 200 would have been a luxury. However, Dhananjaya de Silva fought with the tail and carried the team tally near 250. He was the last wicket to fall in Sri Lanka’s first innings. Batting at a strike rate of 73, the all-rounder scored 109 with 16 fours and two sixes.

Boult-Southee celebrate 250

They say pace bowlers hunt in pair. Tim Southee and Trent Boult are the perfect embodiment of the maxim. The right-left combination relies on their skill of generating swing and can destroy the opposition in helpful conditions.  Both the Blackcaps bowlers managed to reach the milestone of 250 Test wickets in the same Test. Southee needed 65 matches to achieve this feat while Boult got there in 61 Tests. The duo is third (Boult) and fourth (Southee) on New Zealand’s all-time wicket-takers list.

Tom Latham makes the world take notice

New Zealand opener Tom Latham played a masterful innings on the Sri Lankan soil while his illustrious partners failed. The 28-year old registered his tenth century in Test cricket. Amongst Test openers for New Zealand, he is only second on the list, two behind John Wright. He fell for 154, his highest Test score outside New Zealand.

Watling and CDG put New Zealand in driver’s seat

At 269/5, the visitors were still not out of danger. Doughty wicketkeeper BJ Watling and all-rounder Colin de Grandhomme stitched a 113-run partnership for the sixth wicket thus establishing a substantial lead. Watling in the course of 105 not out also became the highest run-getter amongst New Zealand Test wicketkeepers, overtaking Brendon McCullum. Grandhomme fell for an entertaining 83 from 77 balls.

Sri Lanka implode on the final day

The home team needed to bat out around 80 overs on the final day of the Test to draw the game and win the series, however, the plan never came to fruition. Lankans suffered a wretched start with the opener Thirimanne run out on a duck. The wickets kept tumbling one after the other despite Sri Lanka trying to stonewall. At 5/32 in 22 overs, the situation wasn’t too bright.

Captain Dimuth Karunaratne and Niroshan Dickwella salvaged the cause and built a solid stand. Southee provided the all-important breakthrough by claiming Karunaratne LBW. On a turning track, Kiwi spinners found ways to trouble the batsmen. Boult delivered the final blow to skittle Sri Lanka for 122 all out.