Only an hour of play was possible on the final day of the first Test between New Zealand and Sri Lanka at the Basin Reserve in Wellington.
A record-breaking, game-saving partnership between Angelo Mathews and Kusal Mendis looked as though it would set up an intriguing fifth day, but with heavy rain forecast, only part of a delayed morning session was possible with the rest of play washed out by 4 pm.
With Sri Lanka on 259/3 and just 35 runs behind New Zealand’s first innings of 578, the rain had already played an unwanted role by washing out the start of the first session.
When play finally resumed with Mathews on 117 and Mendis on 116, the pair resumed in a calm fashion. Similar to how yesterday’s opening session played out, Mathews resumed his innings intent on defense, while Mendis again unfurled a wide range of strokes, especially a number of sparkling cover drives.
Play was called off by the umpires about five minutes short of the scheduled lunch break, and never resumed.
Sri Lanka would not have been in a position to draw the Test on day-five without the contributions of Mathews and Mendis. Their enduring partnership unbroken on 274, the pair came together at the crease with Sri Lanka in serious trouble at 13/3 and finished with Mathews on 120 and Mendis on 141.
New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson did not blame the weather for the draw and praised the Sri Lankans’ partnership.
“The forecast wasn’t too good but Sri Lanka were at their best,” Williamson remarked. “It was very patient and disciplined batting from Sri Lanka.
“It’s a shame the weather turned out the way it did but, at the same time, credit to Sri Lanka for the character they showed.”
Dinesh Chandimal, Sri Lanka’s Test captain, was also full of praise for Mendis and Mathews.
“We showed a lot of character throughout the five days,” he said. “It was not an easy task going out and batting.
“Angelo has done really well in the last four-five games. Everytime he goes to bat we want some runs from him. He has done really well. Even in the first innings, where he and [Dimuth] Karunaratne put on a stand, and in the second innings, where he and Mendis played superbly.”
The second Test begins in Christchurch on Boxing Day.
© Island Cricket