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Mahela helps Lanka gain slender lead

Sri Lanka were in deep trouble at 50-5 following fast bowler Tim Southee’s three-wicket burst in the morning before posting 247 in their first innings in reply to New Zealand’s 221.

The tourists reached 35-1 in their second innings at stumps after losing hard-hitting opener Brendon McCullum, caught by Nuwan Kulasekara off left-arm spinner Rangana Herath who was pressed into the attack after three overs.


Mahela Jayawardene returns to pavilion after being dismissed for 91 at Galle yesterday. Pic/AFP

The match is evenly poised at this stage, with New Zealand nine runs ahead with as many wickets in hand.

Skipper Jayawardene and vice-captain Angelo Mathews (79) earlier propped up the innings with a 156-run stand for the sixth wicket.

The hosts looked like gaining a big lead when they reached 206-5 but lost their last five wickets, including those of well-set Jayawardene and Mathews, for 41 runs.

The tourists, who went wicketless in the afternoon, came back strongly to take five wickets in the last session, with off-spinner Jeetan Patel striking three times to finish with 3-55.

Jayawardene looked set to complete his 32nd Test century when he was caught behind while trying to sweep Patel. He hit one six and 11 boundaries in his 176-ball knock.

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