BJ Watling comes to NZ's rescue against Sri Lanka

Updated: Aug 17, 2019, 11:44 IST | AFP

New Zealand, who trailed Sri Lanka by 18 runs in the first innings, finished on 195-7 and a target around 200 could prove tricky for the hosts

BJ Watling comes to NZ's rescue against Sri Lanka
New Zealand's BJ Watling in full flow against SL yesterday. Pic /PTI

Galle: A fighting half-century by wicketkeeper-batsman BJ Watling helped New Zealand to take a highly competitive lead of 177 at stumps on Day Three in the first Test match against Sri Lanka in Galle on Friday.

New Zealand, who trailed Sri Lanka by 18 runs in the first innings, finished on 195-7 and a target around 200 could prove tricky for the hosts. The highest successful run chase at the ground is 99 by Sri Lanka against Pakistan in 2014 and armed with a three-pronged spin attack, New Zealand should be already feeling comfortable.

It was a thrilling day's Test match with both teams fighting tooth and nail for the initiative and at stumps on Day Three New Zealand emerged on top thanks to the efforts of Watling, who finished unbeaten on 63. New Zealand had slumped to 25-3 losing top batsmen Ross Taylor (3) and Kane Williamson (4) cheaply and at 124-6 with only a lead of 106 runs and four wickets remaining, they were playing catch up. But Watling found an ideal partner in Tim Southee as the pair shared a 54-run stand to turn the game in New Zealand's favour.

Lasith Embuldeniya provided the much-needed breakthrough when Southee gave him the charge and was stumped by Niroshan Dickwella. He made 23. It was Embuldeniya's fourth wicket in the innings.

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