Christchurch: Dimuth Karunaratne's maiden Test hundred helped Sri Lanka fight back against New Zealand, but their position still looks grim as they followed on in Christchurch.
The tourists, bowled out for 138 on Saturday in reply to New Zealand’s 441, made a much better go of their second innings as Karunaratne — out for a duck in the first innings - made 152 to help them to 293 for five at the close of day three, still 10 runs behind.
New Zealand will remain confident of securing a positive result in this first of two Tests, however, after late wickets from Trent Boult — including that of Karunaratne — swung the momentum back the way of the Black Caps. Sri Lanka resumed on 84 without loss, with Karunaratne on 49.
However, they lost Kaushal Silva before he could add to his overnight 33. Tim Southee’s scrambled seam delivery found an outside edge and the ball flew into the gloves of BJ Watling.
Kumar Sangakkara quickly followed, making just one before he too edged behind, this time off Boult. However, Sri Lanka rebuilt thanks to a watchful innings from Lahiru Thirimanne, who helped Karunaratne negotiate a difficult period.
He made it with a thick outside edge past gully for two off Boult, and by the time Thirimanne fell victim to an excellent diving catch from the wicketkeeper off James Neesham, Sri Lanka had moved on to 181. Thirimanne’s 25 came off 124 balls.
First of sorts
Karunaratne brought up 150 with a four off Boult but the New Zealand paceman had his revenge two overs later, his delivery swinging back in to deceive the Sri Lankan who was clean bowled. His 152 was the highest score by a Sri Lankan while following on.