Dinesh Chandimal got to 24* before Tea break © AFP
New Zealand struck twice in quick succession but not before Kusal Mendis and Dimuth Karunaratne stroked their respective half-centuries en route to a 137-run stand for the second wicket. Sri Lanka headed to Tea on the opening day at the Hagley Oval in Christchurch on 209 for 3, with the veteran duo of Angelo Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal steady on 28 and 24 respectively.
After a power-packed second hour of play, at the back of Mendis’s attack, which propelled the visitors to 120 for 1 at Lunch, a similar trend followed in the early period of play of the second session. The seamers were getting the ball to move. A few streaky boundaries notwithstanding, Mendis didn’t hold back on the attack.
Karunaratne, who had taken advantage of the errors in lengths by the New Zealand pacers offset by Mendis’s aggressive play, moved along to his 32nd Test fifty. The batters were squared up and beaten several times but waded through the tough period rather courageously before Tim Southee’s inswinger had Mendis trapped leg before on 87. One previous review against the batter had failed, but this time Mendis opted against taking a review. Soon enough, even Karunaratne was sent back. Drawn into a drive, the extra bounce by Matt Henry caught the outside edge of the southpaw’s bat and went straight to Tom Latham at second slip.