NEW ZEALAND VS SRI LANKA, 2018
Cricbuzz Staff •
Tom Latham and Henry L © Getty
Tom Latham (176) and Henry Nicholls dominated another session as Sri Lanka continued to struggle on the third day of the second Test in Christchurch on Friday (December 28). The duo scored 214 for the fourth wicket as the hosts reached 461 for 4 before the break, stretching their lead to 535.
Sri Lanka made a promising start to the day when they had Ross Taylor dismissed lbw in the 84th over. The wicket was crucial because it was not only a reward for some probing bowling with the new ball, but also a catalyst that kept them focused on the game. Both Latham and Nicholls started slow but ensured any spark that flickered in the Sri Lankan camp was defused before it became a flame. There were rarely any opportunities for Sri Lanka to break the stand throughout the first and the whole of the second session.
Latham missed out on posting another double century, after his career-best 264 in the last game, as he was caught behind in the last over before the break. However, it was a wicket gifted to the visitors as Latham flicked straight to the ‘keeper down the leg-side to end his 370-ball stay.
New Zealand’s tactics were quite understandable as they continued to bat despite the daunting lead. They want to grind the Sri Lankans down physically and mentally but also want to ensure that the track deteriorates a bit more as well. After the rescue act pulled off by the visitors in the first Test, it won’t be surprising if Kane Williamson is extra cautious especially give the cushion of time left in the Test.
Early in the first session, Suranga Lakmal dismissed Taylor lbw after a good start. Both Latham and Taylor were troubled by the movement but Latham managed to survive the tricky period with some luck going his way. He had left a Lakmal delivery that came back in and was pinged right in front. The lbw appeal, however, was turned down and Sri Lanka promptly went for the reviews only to return disappointed. The replays showed the ball was clipping the top of the stumps and wasn’t missing as the on-field umpire felt.
Nicholls made a scratchy start but settled down to play second fiddle to Latham early on. They saw off the new ball and also grew in confidence. Latham raced through the 90s and cut a wide one from Lakmal in the 101st over to reach his ton. He stayed unbeaten on 118 at the break as Sri Lanka continued to gasp for some breathing space.
Brief scores: New Zealand 178 & 461/4 (Tom Latham 176, Henry Nicholls 110*) lead Sri Lanka 104 (Trent Boult 6-30) by 535 runs