Tom Latham’s massive seventh Test century set the stage for New Zealand’s big first innings total, while three late wickets have left Sri Lanka under huge pressure to save the first Test in Wellington.
Ross Taylor fell without scoring at the start of the third day’s play, after which Latham led a slow but steady New Zealand onslaught on the Sri Lankan bowlers, adding 114 for the fourth wicket with Henry Nicholls (50 off 101 balls, 6×4), and 73 for the sixth wicket with Colin de Grandhomme (49 off 53 balls, 3×4, 3×6).
Latham then shepherded the tail as he went to his highest Test score and the sixth highest for New Zealand in Tests. Latham’s 264 off 489 balls (21×4, 1×6) was also the highest score ever by a batter carrying his bat in a Test innings.
Four Sri Lankan bowlers went past the 30-over mark, with Lahiru Kumara (4-127) enjoying the most success. Dhananjaya de Silva (2-54), Dilruwan Perera (2-156) and Suranga Lakmal (1-88) also picked up wickets, while Kasun Rajitha’s 34 overs yielded no wickets and cost him 144 runs at 4.23 runs per over.
In the 12 overs available before the close, Tim Southee and Trent Boult wreaked havoc among the Sri Lankan batters, removing Danushka Gunathilaka (3), Dimuth Karunaratne (10) and Dhananjaya de Silva (0) to leave the visitors on 20-3 at the close.
Angelo Mathews (5) and Kusal Mendis (2) will attempt to repair the damage on day four, but they have a mountain to climb that will require record-breaking achievements to surmount.
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