Dunedin (New Zealand): Tim Southee took two wickets as New Zealand tightened the screws on Sri Lanka on the fourth day of the first Test yesterday, but rain threatened to derail their victory hopes.
Centurion Tom Latham
New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum set the stage for a tantalising conclusion at Dunedin's University Oval with a sporting declaration that offered Sri Lanka more than five sessions to reach a 405-run target. But the tourists' response was disrupted by three stoppages as southerly squalls swept across the ground. Further showers are forecast for the final day.
SL needs 296
At stumps on day four, with an hour's play lost because of the weather, Sri Lanka were 109 for three, requiring a further 296 runs. Dinesh Chandimal is not out 31 and captain Angelo Mathews has yet to face. Sri Lanka veteran Rangana Herath, 37, said they needed the pair to bat through the first session today to save the Test. "If they can get a good 80-100 runs partnership it's still equal," he said.
'Will keep pressure'
New Zealand century-maker Tom Latham said the conditions meant it would not be easy to wrap up the Sri Lankan innings. "We are going to have to certainly work hard for our wickets," he said, adding time was on their side.
"If we can just keep building the dots from both ends and keep creating enough pressure and take our catches then we certainly are going to give ourselves a good chance at the back end."
Sri Lanka's highest fourth-innings chase is 352-9 against South Africa in 2006 and the highest by any side in New Zealand is 348-5 by the West Indies in 1969.
NZ 431 & 267-3 decl (T Latham 109*, K Williamson 71; R Herath 2-62, D Chameera 1-61) lead SL 294 & 109-3 (K Mendis 46, D Chandimal 31*; T Southee 2-16) by 296 runs