Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
New Zealand’s pace duo of Trent Boult and Tim Southee took four wickets apiece to help their side cruise past Sri Lanka by eight wickets on the fourth day of the first Test in Christchurch.
Starting out the day on 293/5, Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews and debutant Tharindu Kaushal only added 14 runs to their six-run partnership before Kaushal was caught by Mark Craig at second slip off the bowling of Southee for 12 runs.
Mathews went on to score 66 off 127 balls, which included seven boundaries and a six, before he was caught behind off the bowling of Southee.
Dhammika Prasad only made four runs before he was caught by Ross Taylor at slip off the bowling of Southee.
Prasanna Jayawardene managed to make 23 runs before he was caught by Southee at long-off off the bowling of Craig.
Shaminda Eranga and Suranga Lakmal kept New Zealand at bay with a last-gasp 59-run partnership before Lakmal was caught by Southee at cover off the bowling of Boult.
Eranga was left stranded on a career-best 45, which came off 62 balls and included seven boundaries, as Sri Lanka were bowled out for 407, which set New Zealand a target of 105 to win.
Boult and Southee picked up four wickets apiece, while Craig and James Neesham chipped in with one wicket each.
Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Chasing 105 to win, New Zealand got off to an awful start as opening batsman Tom Latham was caught by Mathews at slip off the bowling of Kaushal for 17.
Hamish Rutherford fared no better as he was caught by Niroshan Dickwella at gully off the bowling of Eranga for 10 runs.
There were no more twists and turns from this point on as Taylor and Kane Williamson amassed an unbeaten 64-run partnership to lead their side to victory.
Taylor finished on 39 off 63 balls, which included six boundaries, while Williamson remained undefeated on 31 off 75 deliveries.
Kaushal and Eranga claimed one wicket each.
Mathews was gutted to have lost the match, and said: “Our batting didn’t step up in the first innings which kept us out of the game. Dimuth showed a lot of character with his first hundred against a quality attack. We will get better and better with time but you can’t do much when someone nearly gets a double hundred in a session.”
New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum, who was named Man of the Match, was ecstatic to have taken a 1-0 lead in the series, and said: “Really good all-round performance after losing the toss. We developed some nice partnerships in top and middle order and our seamers make a potent attack. Two of our three seamers bowled really well and they kept running in to get the job done. Really good way to end 2014. The pitch still had a bit in it and our bowlers wanted to bowl when we enforced the follow-on, there were no doubts about that. But credit goes to Sri Lanka for fighting back in the second innings.
“Every game I’m playing is a bit of a bonus for me. I am happy where I am right now. In the past few months I have tried to improve my weaknesses and it’s been good so far. The attitude that every game could be your last helps and I’m pretty lucky to have the batting quality around me, everyone has been standing up. Our focus is how we are progressing as a group.”