Sri Lanka folded with no resistance very early in the morning session of day-five, losing the second and final Test in Christchurch to New Zealand by a record 423 runs and giving the hosts a 1-0 series victory.
It was the heaviest defeat in terms of runs in Sri Lankan Test history and New Zealand’s biggest-ever win margin. It is also the first time New Zealand have won four consecutive Test series.
Resuming on 231/6, Dilruwan Perera and Suranga Lakmal were the not out batsmen for the visitors. In tricky, overcast conditions, Trent Boult was again at his unplayable best and, for the second time in the game, set about demolishing the Sri Lankan tail.
Lakmal was bowled by a terrific Boult inswinger for 18 after just the third ball of the day. In the next over, Neil Wagner claimed Perera for 22 off a top-edged bouncer that fell into the waiting hands of Kane Williamson.
In the following over, Dushmantha Chameera was snared LBW by Boult for just 3. There at first appeared to be two noises as the ball struck the pad, but there was no bat involved, and Chameera’s review was unsuccessful.
The Test match was declared over with Sri Lanka nine wickets down, as the injured Angelo Mathews was retired hurt and unable to bat.
Sri Lanka appeared to be in control of the match early on the first morning, sending New Zealand into the lunch break in trouble at 51/4. They soon had the hosts 65/5 after the break, but BJ Watling (48) and Man of the Match Tim Southee (68) rescued the innings with a vital 108-run partnership.
Sri Lanka then finished the day-one in trouble at 88/4 in their first innings before getting blown away by Boult on the next morning. Boult claimed 6/4 in one of the most destructive spells in Test history to rattle Sri Lanka for just 104 in a dramatic collapse.
New Zealand then settled in for the best batting conditions of the Test, scoring a mammoth innings over 500, as they had done in the previous Test, but unlike the Wellington Test, Sri Lanka were unable to save the match and lost wickets regularly on the fourth day, before collapsing for the second time in the game this morning.
Sri Lankan captain Dinesh Chandimal said he was thoroughly disappointed in Sri Lanka’s batting performance.
“I’m very disappointed in the way we batted in the first innings in both of the Test matches,” Chandimal said. “I’m really happy with the way we batted in the second innings and fought hard. That’s a plus point, but we have to learn how to get a good start as a batting unit in the first innings.
“We are a young side and we just want to keep improving.”
Chandimal had praise for the efforts of the Sri Lankan seam bowlers.
“We bowled really well after winning the toss here, especially Suranga,” the Sri Lankan skipper said. “He did a really good job. He gave a really good start to the team. Overall, the seamers have done a decent job, but we just have to improve as a unit, especially in our execution. That’s what we are focusing on. We will have similar conditions in Australia and New Zealand. We want to take on that challenge.”
Chandimal also singled out Mathews for his contribution to Sri Lanka’s performance in the series.
“He’s been an outstanding player. He’s got a lot of experience in international cricket, and he’s shown a lot of character to come back from an injury and perform really well. It’s unfortunate about his injury yesterday.”
© Island Cricket