Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 21st 2015 Contents A61
Monday, December 21, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
HAMILTON---New Zealand's Kane
Williamson scored an unbeaten 78
to guide the Black Caps to the brink
of victory in the second test against
Sri Lanka after a day of swirling
New Zealand was 142-5 at stumps,
chasing 189 to complete a sweep of
the two-test series.
The Sri Lanka team will believe it
is still in with a chance, particularly
after a day on which 16 wickets fell
and the upper hand in the match
passed from one team to the other.
New Zealand's first innings was
quickly ended in the morning,
bowled out for 237 in reply to Sri
Lanka's 292 to concede a 55-run first
Sri Lanka then reached 71-0 in its
second innings, seemingly on course
But the innings unraveled dra-
matically between lunch and tea as
the tourists lost all 10 wickets for
62 runs in less than 90 minutes to
be all out for 133 and to leave New
Zealand chasing a moderate target.
New Zealand then stumbled to
11-2 in the face of the hostile pace
bowling of Dushmantha Chameera,
who took 5-47 in the first innings,
to again rally Sri Lanka's spirits.
Chameera had figures of 4-45 in the
second innings, and stands a strong
chance of taking 10 wickets in what
is only his third test.
Williamson continued his impres-
sive recent form as he put on 67
with Ross Taylor (35) for the third
wicket and 52 with Brendon McCul-
lum (18) to edge towards victory.
However, there is only the tail-
enders to follow the current pairing
of Williamson and B.J. Watling, so
an early wicket Monday would sig-
nificantly boost Sri Lanka's hopes.
Run-scoring was never easy and
Williamson was one of few to bat
with sufficient application to make
a significant score. Sri Lanka's bats-
men were repeat offenders in hitting
at short balls they could have left.
Tim Southee took 4-26 and Neil
Wagner 3-40 capitalized on that
rashness as Sri Lanka's second
innings fell apart.
Doug Bracewell initiated the col-
lapse, removing Dimuth Karunarate
(27) to end his 71-run opening stand
with Mendis, then Udara Jayasundera
without scoring, also at 71.
Southee then raced through the
middle order, removing opener Kusal
Mendis for 46---which equaled his
highest score in tests---and adding
the wickets of Angelo Mathews for
2 and Rangana Herath (0) before
dismissing Nuwan Pradeep to end
an innings which lasted only three
hours and 36.3 overs.
"That's what you call test cricket,"
Wagner said. "It's a test of your
skills and temperament in the heat
of battle and in a difficult environ-
"The guys are still pretty confi-
dent of getting the runs. We'll go
to bed tonight knowing there's still
a lot of work to do and we'll come
back tomorrow to get those runs,
confident that we can get them."
Sri Lanka produced another twist
in the day's play when it rapidly
dismissed openers Tom Latham for
4 and Martin Guptill for 1.
Williamson showed a typically
cool head to guide New Zealand
within sight of a victory which
would preserve its unbeaten record
in home tests which stretches back
to March, 2012. Balanced against
that, New Zealand has lost four of
its past five tests in Hamilton.
Taylor batted well before losing
his wicket to a rash shot which pro-
duced a catch on the boundary.
McCullum never looked comfortable
and hasn't throughout the series.
He scratched for runs and was out
to a loose shot and a catch in the
NZ on brink of victory after wild day
New Zealand's Kane Williamson cuts for a boundary in front of Sri Lanka's wicket keeper Dinesh Chandimal, left, on day
four of their first international cricket test at University Cricket Oval in Dunedin, New Zealand, yesterday. AP PHOTO
City Oval---Steven Finn thrust him-
self to the front of the queue for the
Boxing Day Test with four wickets
on day one against South Africa A
Finn was not in the initial 16-man
squad for the tour but, after recovering
well from a bone stress injury in his
left foot, he hit form on his return to
action at the Pietermaritzburg Oval.
He dismissed the dangerous Quinton
De Kock with his third ball of the tour
and then turned in a superb spell after
lunch to remove Omphile Ramela,
Khaya Zondo and captain Dane Vilas
in the space of nine deliveries.
It was not so much a nudge to the
selectors as an uncompromising shoul-
der charge from the 6ft 7in seamer
ahead of the series opener in Durban.
Chris Woakes had positioned himself
well for a possible Test recall during
Finn's absence but may now have to
settle for a watching brief.
The day went almost entirely to plan
for the tourists, who opted to bowl
first having lost two sessions in the
field to a thunder storm in Potchef-
They rolled over a strong-looking
South African second string for 136 -
Stephen Cook carrying his bat for a
stern-faced half-century - before Eng-
land's Cook (36no) and Alex Hales
(28no) put on 64 without loss by
Hales twice fell cheaply in last
week's curtain-raiser and will be
boosted after coming through a chal-
lenging opening blast from interna-
tionals Marchant De Lange and Chris
Hales was hit on the glove by the
rapid De Lange shortly before play was
suspended for bad light and will be
hoping for no adverse reaction.
England began the day well on a
pitch that looked green but offered
little zip off the surface.
By lunch they had restricted South
Africa A to a modest 66 for three,
with Footitt, Finn and Stuart Broad
sharing the wickets.
Footitt and Broad both succeeded
with rising deliveries around off stump,
which Reeva Hendricks then Rilee
Rossouw nicked fine to wicketkeeper
Finn was offered a first chance to
impress in the 13th over and duly had
De Kock, owner of six Test caps,
caught by Hales at third slip.
It was a loose stroke to a delivery
slanted towards the cordon, but Finn's
knack for inducing such brainwaves
is an attractive one for the selectors.
The paceman returned in the after-
noon with a quick, controlled six-over
stint that cannot failed to make him
favourite to join Broad and the rested
James Anderson in Durban.
Ramela and Zondo succumbed to
successive deliveries, the former to a
smart James Taylor catch at point and
the latter for a golden duck.
Home skipper Vilas, who played for
the Proteas in the recent India series,
was next to depart lbw to leave the
scoreboard at 99 for six.
Ben Stokes added a seventh just
before tea, Morris playing one shot
too many after making a breezy 21.
The innings lasted 10 balls after
break, Stokes too good for numbers
10 and 11, while Keshav Maharaj was
carelessly run out.
At the other end anchorman
Stephen Cook present for all 10 dis-
missals, digging in watchfully barring
one dropped catch off the spin of
He finished on 53no from 170 balls,
having passed 11,000 first-class runs
in the process.
When England's turn came, De
Lange and Morris did not make life
Hales, in particular, was put to the
test by De Lange and did not initially
But after a couple of hairy moments
he grew into the role and followed his
captain's lead by going after the short
ball to good effect.
England will be hoping for more of
the same on day two, having appar-
ently settled their starting XI for the
Finn puts arm up for Boxing Day test
Steven Finn boosted his claims for a place in the Test team.
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