NEW ZEALAND TOUR OF SRI LANKA, 2019
Akila Dananjaya left New Zealand in a spin just before the lunch break © AFP
Akila Dananjaya struck thrice at the fag end of the first session to peg New Zealand back at Lunch on Day 1 of the first Test in Galle. On a track where the spinners extracted assistance in the first session of Day 1, New Zealand finished with 71 for 3 at the break.
After New Zealand won the toss and opted to bat, the tourists made a cautious start. The opening duo of Jeet Raval (33) and Tom Latham (30) largely looked to play out the pace pair of Lahiru Kumara and Suranga Lakmal. With early morning moisture around, there was a hint of nip for the pacers, but Raval and Latham played with largely soft hands to keep them at bay.
Dananjaya, who was introduced in the ninth over, immediately extracted grip and found turn to beat the edges of both Raval and Latham. However, the opening duo played late and looked to deal the Sri Lankan mainstay in a diet of singles. The pair also showcased nimble footwork by using the crease to cut, sweep and loft.
At 63 for no loss after 26 overs, the openers seemed to have taken New Zealand to safer waters. But, with a few minutes to go for the break, Dananjaya dismissed Latham as the southpaw got into two minds and edged one behind. Kane Williamson, the skipper, didn’t last long as he nudged one straight to the fielder at short midwicket in the same over. To make matters worse, Raval too succumbed to Dananjaya’s googly and nicked one to the slip fielder.
The fall of three wickets on the brink of the break has put Sri Lanka in the ascendancy. It is going to be an uphill task for two new batsmen to get in after the break with the ball turning and gripping.
Brief scores: New Zealand 71/3 (Jeet Raval 33, Tom Latham 30; Akila Dananjaya 3-28) vs Sri Lanka.