Bowlers hand Sri Lanka advantage
by CricketArchive Staff Reporter
DateLine: 27th August 2009
Sri Lanka for the second Test running put themselves in the driverís seat with another flawless performance on the field. Samaraweera was the star off the day as he completed his eleventh century of his career and more importantly crossed the 1000 run mark for the year 2009. Late wickets in the day ensured that Sri Lanka still held the aces as New Zealand will have to get into the survival mode when they resume the third day. New Zealand finished the day at 157 for the loss of five wickets with Taylor (70) and McCullum (5) at the crease. O'Brien put New Zealand gave the initial breakthrough of the day when he got one swung away late from Mahela Jayawardene which he edged to McCullum for 92. It seemed that New Zealand would then continue to make inroads but they were stalled by a quickfire partnership of 72 between Kapugedera and Samaraweera.
Samaraweera took off from where he left off yesterday as he continued to find the boundaries without straining much. In the process he got past 1000 runs for the year 2009 and then continued as he toppled Strauss from the top of the chart. He got past the eighties in a jiffy but once he entered the nineties he got stuck. The Kiwi bowlers were able to put a lid on the scoring for a prolonged period off play as Samaraweera got stuck on 99 for 19 scoreless deliveries. But once he got one past the point he heaved a sigh off relief and off the next ball he played a superb hook off Martin to celebrate the feat. Once the milestone was covered, Samaraweera began to unfurl some majestic shots all round the park. Kapugedera tried to make use of the chance given to him in the Test arena and just when he was repaying the faith showed onto him by the team management, a rush of blood from the young batsmen made him to gift his wicket away just minutes before the lunch break.
After lunch it was New Zealandís turn to take control off the match as they cut down the Lankan ambitions. Sri Lanka looked to scale the 500 run mark but Patel in the company of Martin and Vettori plucked out the remaining wickets to dismiss the Lanka team for 416. Chris Martin started the proceedings by first bouncing out Prasanna Jayawardene and then Patel accounted for Prasad, Herath and the centurion Samaraweera, while Vettori claimed the last wicket. In the New Zealand innings, Sangakkara handed the new ball to Dilshan who bowled the opening over, in order to tempt the Kiwi openers to try and go after him. That experiment was shelved soon when Dilshan gave away six runs. In the third over, Prasad trapped McIntosh leg before when he struck him on the back leg and then Flynn could not hang around for long when Thushara got him to edge through to the keeper.
Soon after tea, Guptill who is clearly uncomfortable with the short ball was peppered by an aggressive Thushara almost at will. Guptill tried to take on Thushara as he went for the pull, which he could top-edge and sent it as far as deep square-leg as New Zealand found themselves three down for just 63 runs. Taylor was joined in the middle by Ryder and the two young guns put their heads down to play responsibly. They cut the risks as they opted for percentage cricket. Ryder who is known for his power hitting in the limited overs game put his head down to play a patient game as the duo bided their time against the spinners. Taylor got the boundaries when the runs dried up and Ryder gave him excellent support. Taylor got the fifty run mark and more importantly the duo had put on a fifty run association to blunt the Lankan bowlers.
Ryder finally fell when he misjudged the loop from Herath as he inside edged the ball on to his pads which lobbed up to short-leg who took the catch. The 85 run partnership was broken and in the very next over the Kiwi innings sunk deeper when the nightwatchman Patel was dismissed by Muralitharan. McCullum and Taylor saw through the stumps to ensure that no more damage took place.