Gritty Watling gives New Zealand the edge

back icon
safari
16 Aug 2019 | 12:24 PM
authorArjun Ganesh

Gritty Watling gives New Zealand the edge

Wicket-keeper scores half century as Kiwis gain 177-run lead

heart

Share

An uncharacteristic Galle pitch barely turned enough as New Zealand edged ahead in the first Test. 

A fresh hero has emerged on every day of the Test and it was BJ Watling that took centre-stage on Friday with an unbeaten 63 off 138 balls, which handed New Zealand a lead of 177. 

On Thursday, Niroshan Dickwella and Suranga Lakmal played gritty knocks to leave the hosts just 22 runs shy of New Zealand’s 249. The pair continued in the same vein taking Sri Lanka to 242 before Lakmal attempted a big heave to mid-wicket off Trent Boult, only to see his furniture disturbed. 

An unperturbed Dickwella continued to knock off the runs in the company of Lasith Embuldeniya, handing Lanka the lead and bringing up his half century in the subsequent over. 

By the time the innings ended, Sri Lanka were ahead by 18 runs – the last three wickets contributing a vital 106 runs. 

New Zealand would have still felt they were in the driving seat considering the highest successful run chase at Galle has been 99 for three in 2014 when Sri Lanka put one past Pakistan. 

The strip wasn’t really behaving like the spinner’s haven that it is known to be, but the Kiwi batsmen just seemed overawed by its reputation. Jeet Raval, Kane Williamson, and Ross Taylor found themselves back in the hut after falling victim to ordinary strokes. 

Tom Latham look solid as ever holding fort at one end with some sensible batting. From 25 for three, Latham and Henry Nicholls forged a crucial partnership as they stabilised the Kiwi ship. 

Latham then fell to a beauty from Akila Dananjaya with Nicholls following suit shortly after. When New Zealand lost their sixth wicket – Mitchell Santner playing a horrific shot to hole out at deep midwicket – they had a lead of 106 with only the tail to come. 

Similar to the way Taylor took charge in the first innings, it was BJ Watling that held Sri Lanka at bay in the second innings. Watling and Southee frustrated the Lankan bowlers with technically sound defensive strokes and getting the odd boundary. All of Southee’s hard work was undone when he trotted down the track and was stumped after Embuldeniya deceived him with a well-flighted delivery. 

Watling continued to battle on and when bad light stopped play, New Zealand were in a comfortable position. With two days still remaining, there is little or no doubt that the match will yield a result. It will all come down to which side can hold their nerves better and eke out a win.

heart
shareGray Share
Tags
Sri Lanka v New Zealand 2019Lasith EmbuldeniyaBJ WatlingFirst Test

Related Articles

safari
ANALYSIS
All-round New Zealand keep England at bay
England posted 375 thanks to impressive half-centuries from BJ Watling and debutant Daryl Mitchell
userPramod Ananth
30 Nov 2019
safari
NEWS
'It just happens' - New Zealand hero struggles to explain success
“I love scoring hundreds for New Zealand and I really enjoyed that one"
userPTI
23 Nov 2019
safari
ANALYSIS
Watling's grit keeps England at bay
BJ Watling notched up his eighth Test hundred
userAFP
23 Nov 2019
safari
ANALYSIS
Curran hands England slight advantage over New Zealand
Black Caps lost their top four batsmen and were 144 for 4 in 51 overs when the stumps were drawn
userCricket.com Staff
22 Nov 2019
safari
ANALYSIS
BJ Watling: The underappreciated battler
Cometh the hour, cometh BJ Watling
userShubh Aggarwal
27 Aug 2019
safari
ANALYSIS
New Zealand dish out dominant show to level series
Kiwi bowlers dismantle Sri Lanka to register an innings and 65-run victory
userAFP
26 Aug 2019
safari
ANALYSIS
Prolific New Zealand comfortably placed
Latham scores 154, while Watling, de Granhomme chip in with fifties as Kiwis take lead
userAFP
25 Aug 2019
safari
ANALYSIS
Latham scores blistering ton as New Zealand take charge
Southpaw overshadows Dhananjaya's century to leave Kiwis with 48-run deficit
userAFP
24 Aug 2019
safari
ANALYSIS
New Zealand aim for a repeat of 2012
New Zealand fought back to level the series against Sri Lanka in 2012
userShubh Aggarwal
21 Aug 2019
safari
ANALYSIS
Sri Lanka, New Zealand share spoils on day two
Patel grabs five-wicket haul as hosts trail by 22 runs
userArjun Ganesh
15 Aug 2019
logo
Cricket like never before
Follow us on
FacebookTwitterLinkedin
@ 2020 cricket.com | All rights reserved