Williamson in elite set as New Zealand take control
Kane Williamson joined the elite 1,000 runs-a-year club Saturday as
New Zealand built a commanding 308-run lead over Sri Lanka with two days
remaining in the first Test in Dunedin.
Only the threat of rain and a flattening pitch loomed as possible
barricades for New Zealand, who closed day three on 171 for one with
nine wickets in hand.
Tom Latham was on 72 with master batsman Williamson on 48.
Although Sri Lanka have their backs to the wall, forecast rain and an
easy wicket meant it was crucial for New Zealand to get the timing of
their declaration right, according to bowling spearhead Tim Southee.
ďWith the new ball, itís important for us to try and make early
inroads,Ē he said.
ďItís not going to come easy. If batsmen get in on this wicket
thereís not too many demons in it so weíre going to have to work
extremely hard to take 10 wickets.Ē
Williamson, who started his innings with 992 runs for the year,
reached 1,000 driving Rangana Herath elegantly over mid-off to the
He joins Englandís Alastair Cook and Joe Root and Australians David
Warner and Steve Smith as the only players to achieve the milestone in
2015 but his batting average of 94.54 is considerably superior to the
other four. Brendon McCullum, with 1,164 runs in 2014, is the only other
New Zealander to score 1,000 runs in a calendar year.
Williamsonís class shone as New Zealand ramped up their dominance
over Sri Lanka, removing their last six wickets on Saturday to have the
tourists all out for 294, 137 runs in arrears.
Guptill and Latham set about building on New Zealandís advantage,
moving swiftly to 79 before Guptillís luck ran out when he was bowled by
a shooter from Herath for 46.
The first-innings century-maker had earlier survived
caught-and-bowled chances to Nuwan Pradeep and Suranga Lakmal and being
dropped on 19 by Kusal Mendis at cover. Latham, who posted his seventh
Test 50 with a single off Milinda Siriwardana, has been content to build
partnerships -- first with Guptill then an unbroken 92-run stand with
Sri Lanka suffered a setback at the start of the day when they
resumed their first innings at 197-4 and lost batting general Dinesh
Chandimal with the first ball he faced.
The Sri Lankans had expected Chandimal to lead them within close
range of New Zealandís 431, instead he was unable to add to his
overnight 83 as he fell to Southee.
Southee struck again in his next over when he had Kithuruwan
Vithanage caught behind for 22.
Siriwardana and Herath emerged from the setback to produce a stubborn
43-run stand for the seventh wicket.
The 30-year-old Siriwardana, who made his Test debut only two months
ago, had a reprieve on 29 when he was caught by a leaping Doug Bracewell
on the long-leg boundary.
The apparent dismissal turned into a six when Bracewell fell
backwards over the boundary rope.
However, Siriwardana was not to score again as four balls later he
edged Neil Wagner to Ross Taylor at first slip.
Herath, who weathered a sustained short-ball barrage and took a cruel
blow to the head, faced 74 deliveries before he was gone for 15.
The innings ended when leg-spinner Mitchell Santner had Pradeep
caught behind to give wicketkeeper BJ Watling his sixth catch of the
It is the second time the South Africa-born Watling has taken six
catches in an innings, one short of the Test record of seven jointly
held by Pakistanís Wasim Bari, New Zealander Ian Smith and Englandís Bob
For New Zealand, Southee took three for 71 and Wagner three for 87.