New Zealand beat Sri Lanka by innings and 58 runs, sweep series 2-0
Reuters || Shining BD
The South Asian team's resistance finally gave way late in day four of the second test, which New Zealand won by an innings and 58 runs to take the series 2-0. The match was played in windy Wellington.
After being asked to bat next, Sri Lanka needed 416 runs to force the hosts to bat again, but they were dismissed for 358 at the Basin Reserve in their second innings.
After winning the thrilling series opener by two wickets on the final ball in Christchurch and defeating England by one run in another nail-biting match in Wellington, New Zealand completed their third test victory in a row.
When Sri Lanka's batters could only muster 164 runs in response to New Zealand's declared first innings total of 580 for four, their chances of recording their first victory in the nation since 2006 were all but eliminated.
On a day marred by strong gusts of wind, those hopes were dashed in the second innings when five of their top seven batters lost their wickets while attempting to attack the short ball.
Though Sri Lanka's chances of winning seemed slim when they resumed play at 113 for two in the morning, there was some optimism that they might bat out the day and even win the game thanks to the heavy rain predicted for day five.
By tea, number six Dhananjaya de Silva had advanced to the verge of a century after four batters made half-centuries.
Sri Lanka was reduced to 318 for seven, but a wicket before and after the tea break, including De Silva's dismissal for 98 on a mishandled scoop off Michael Bracewell, gave the game back to New Zealand.
Prabath Jayasuriya and Kasun Rajitha did well to hold out for an hour before Jayasuriya was dismissed for two runs off 45 balls after top-edging a pull shot off Bracewell's spin.
Lahiru Kumara joined Rajitha in the blocking effort, and as the duo resisted for almost 16 overs, New Zealand grew frustrated.
When the hosts tried to get Rajitha caught behind off paceman-captain Tim Southee, they wasted two of their three referrals.
When Kumara attempted to leave a ball but instead edged it to Bracewell in the slips, Southee made the crucial breakthrough. Kumara was out for seven.
When Blair Tickner unsuccessfully requested that Asitha Fernando be caught behind, Southee blew New Zealand's final review.
Extra overs were given to New Zealand so they could get the last wicket, but they were really just racing against the light rather than the clock.
Rajitha quickly edged a Southee (3-51) delivery to the slips, where Kane Williamson caught it and ended the batsman's 110-ball vigil for 20 to end the game, much to the relief of the hosts.
After their disastrous first innings, Sri Lanka's batters put up a brave fight, but the majority of the specialists will regret their shot choices after making promising starts.
While number three Kusal Mendis also pulled at a short ball from Matt Henry to be out for 50 early in the morning, captain and opener Dimuth Karunaratne top-edged a pull off Southee to be out for 51 late on day three.
Before top-edging Tickner, who finished the innings with 3-84, Dinesh Chandimal scored 62 runs.