When very little play was possible in the first 3 days due to rain, a possibility of a result in the second Test was looking improbable. New Zealand who had given a good account of themselves in the first Test despite the loss was once again in the driver’s seat after bowling the hosts out for 244. But the question remained if they would have enough time to force a result.
New Zealand batted brilliantly when their turn to bat came. Centuries from Tom Latham and BJ Watling coupled with an aggressive Colin de Grandhomme gave the visitors a good 187 first-innings lead as they finished on 431/6. Sri Lankan bowling struggled on a good batting wicket. Their batting also collapsed in the first innings on a wicket where probably 350 was a par score. The batting of the hosts which over the last few years has been their Achilles heel came back to haunt them again.
New Zealand though did power on with the mindset of trying to force a result. At the end of the fourth day, there were little concerns if New Zealand were batting longer than they should but again it did not matter in the long run. Sri Lankan batters came without a plan in their second innings and found themselves 33/5 really quick. The New Zealand attack was on the money and kept the pressure on. The only resistance from the hosts came from Niroshan Dickwella who scored a good 51 but the rest of the batting crumbled. Sri Lanka lost the game eventually by an innings and 65 runs. They were bowled out for an abject 122 in just over 2 sessions.
Kane Williamson though will be delighted the way his team responded. Their batters first batted with freedom in setting up a good lead and then bowlers followed it up with a brilliant performance to compete for the win. This win marks another series where New Zealand has done well in the subcontinent. They beat Pakistan last year in the UAE and have shown that among Western teams they are probably the best in Asian conditions.
This has been an incredible series with both teams playing incredibly hard and in the end, you would say that a 1-1 result was a fair reflection of how both teams performed. Both teams will be sharing points for the Test championship but New Zealand will be the happier of the two teams.
New Zealand 431/6 (Tom Latham 154, Perera 3/114) beat Sri Lanka 244 (De Silva 109, Southee 4/63) & 122 (Dickwella 51, Southee 2/15) by an innings and 65 runs