Sri Lanka lead New Zealand by 140 runs at lunch on day 3

December 19, 2015

HAMILTON, New Zealand (AP) Dimuth Karunarate and Kusal Mendis put on 71 for the first wicket before Sri Lanka suffered a serious reversal against New Zealand ahead of lunch on the third day of the second cricket test on Sunday, going to the break at 85-3 and with an overall lead of 140.

Karunaratne and Mendis batted Sri Lanka into a powerful position at 71-0 as it built on a 55-run first-innings lead.

But fast bowler Doug Bracewell achieved a double breakthrough, removing Karunarate (27) and Udara Jayasundera (0) at that total. When Neil Wagner dismissed Dinesh Chandimal (4), the match headed to lunch more evenly poised.

At lunch, Mendis was 45 not out - one short of his highest test score - holding together the Sri Lanka innings with captain Angelo Mathews, who had yet to score.

New Zealand leads the two-match series 1-0 after winning the first test at Dunedin by 122 runs.

A maiden five-wicket bag in tests by the young paceman Dushmantha Chameera was largely responsible for Sri Lanka's strong position on the third day. Chameera produced a fiery spell of short-pitched fast bowling to take 5-47 and to ensure New Zealand fell short of Sri Lanka's total, which was over par after it lost the toss and was forced to bat first on a green and seaming pitch.

Chameera was well supported by fellow seamer Nuwan Pradeep who took 2-29, removing tailender Trent Boult for 0 on Sunday to end the New Zealand innings. Doug Bracewell, who resumed on 30, was left not out on 35.

Karunaratne and Mendis built strongly on the foundation of a first-innings lead, boosting Sri Lanka's advantage to 126 when they were finally separated in the 23rd over. Bracewell caused a ball to rear disconcertingly at Karunarate, whose attempted fend skied to Tim Southee running in from second slip.

He then repeated the trick to remove Jayasundera, caught by wicketkeeper BJ Watling without scoring, to release Sri Lanka's tight grip on the match and to give some hope to the home side after a tough first session.

When Wagner dismissed Chandimal, caught at slip by Martin Guptill, the match was much more evenly balanced, though Mendis looked in imposing form throughout the morning and may hold the key to the test in his partnership with Mathews. He gave one clear chance when he turned a ball down the leg side, just wide of Watling, who hurt his shoulder attempting an athletic catch.

The pitch at Seddon Park, newly laid in Patumahoe clay, continued to assist the bowlers with pace and bounce early on the third day, though New Zealand struggled to take advantage of a new ball that had to be changed twice within a handful of overs.

Bracewell was the most effective of the New Zealand bowlers, finding difficult bounce to go to lunch with 2-31.