De Grandhomme and Watling Put New Zealand Ahead in Second Test
Half a century in contrast to B.J. Watling and Colin de Grandhomme helped New Zealand lead 138-runs in their first innings against Sri Lanka on the fourth day of the second rain test on Sunday.
From Grandhomme, scoring 83 of 75 balls, and Watling, 81, assembled an unbeaten position of 113 runs for the sixth wicket to thwart Sri Lankan bowling at Colombo’s P. Sara Oval.
Overnight, centurion Tom Latham won 154 during a key 143-run partnership with Watling after the first session faded due to rain and wet garden.
Only 48 overs of the 98 scheduled were possible on the fourth day, as New Zealand reached 382 for five in a suite. Tourists resumed the day on 196-4.
Off-spinner Dilruwan Perera broke the marathon post after catching Latham’s leg earlier in a delivery that pitched and rushed to the Bating platform.
Latham, who started the day with 111, recorded his fifth score of 150 more in Trials. His best of 264 did not also come out against Sri Lanka in Wellington last year.
De Grandhomme’s counterattack attacked after Latham’s departure, hitting local bowlers everywhere on the ground, breaking five four and five sixes.
Watling, who completed his eighteenth test fifty, then stood guard with De Grandhomme to take the team for tea at 295-5.
The two batsmen kept Sri Lanka’s attack at bay in the final session while Watling played the anchor role perfectly while allowing De Grandhomme to take over.
Watling, who started the day on the 25th, played a patient punch during his 208-ball stay.
Sri Lanka does not have the services of wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella and captain and initial batsman Dimuth Karunaratne, who strained a muscle of the left leg and not be able to continue batting until the fall of the fifth wicket.
Angelo Mathews is the substitute captain and substitutes Dinesh Chandimal keeps the sluice in the absence of Dickwella, who suffered a cut on the little finger of his left hand on day three.
Sri Lanka, who led the two-match series 1-0, made 244 after choosing to bat first in a match that has witnessed numerous rain breaks.
New Zealand, led by Kane Williamson, will look to bat only once and then let his rhythm duo Tim Southee and Trent Boult attack Sri Lankan hitters in an attempt to square the series.
The game will start at 9:45 a.m. (0415 GMT) on Monday, the last day of the match, weather permitting. Sri Lanka has lost five of its last seven test matches at The Oval.