Battling Black Caps Earn Sri Lanka Draw

Having suffered whitewashes in their last two series, many commentators would have feared the worst as New Zealand prepared for their two-match rubber against Sri Lanka.  During their most recent defeat, the Black Caps’ batsmen had been totally mystified by India’s spin attack – an immediate return to the dry, dusty pitches of the Subcontinent may not consequently have been a welcome prospect.

The 1st Test must have felt like deja vu for the tourists as their top order failed to cope with the wiles of slow left-armer Rangana Herath, who picked up 11 wickets in the match.  Sri Lanka’s batsmen themselves failed to evince an aura of solidity, although their efforts were sufficient to allow the team to finish the match as convincing 10-wicket winners.

From the moment Kane Williamson joined Ross Taylor at 14-2 in the 2nd Test, New Zealand dominated their opposition.  Both Williamson and Taylor scored significant hundreds in a partnership worth 262, before the New Zealand seam attack twice bowled out the Sri Lankans cheaply.  Only for a brief while during the tourists’ 2nd innings may have SL captain Mahela Jayawardene sniffed the glimmer of a turnaround for his side.  Another composed innings by Taylor extinguished any hope for Sri Lanka, and the Black Caps went on to capture a series-levelling win on the final day.

As holders, Sri Lanka cling on to the series trophy, though the draw reduces their immediate chances of overtaking nearest challengers, Pakistan.  Sri Lanka thus stay in 6th position, while New Zealand remain one place above bottom team Bangladesh, with tough series against South Africa and England to come.

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