New Zealand's Tim Southee celebrates with teammates after
taking the wicket of Sri Lanka's Thilan Samaraweera.
An impressive bowling effort started by Tim Southee and
finished by Jeetan Patel has given New Zealand the chance to
claim their first test win since January.
The Black Caps bowlers once again picked up the slack left by
their batsmen on the second day of the first test against Sri
Lanka in Galle last night - but now it is the turn of those
with the willow to attempt to set up an unlikely victory.
With only 221 runs on the board following a disappointing
opening day with the bat, Southee produced another inspired
spell of new ball bowling to give his side a sniff.
After Sri Lanka fought back to seize the initiative, Patel
helped keep the arrears to 26 runs and leave New Zealand
right in the match with three days to play.
Brendon McCullum and Martin Guptill were made to survive a
testing 12 overs before stumps but a rash shot from McCullum,
two balls after he had hit a six, saw him depart for 13.
Guptill and Kane Williamson eked out a lead of nine and
closed the day on 35-1.
That New Zealand have a chance of winning just their second
test of 2012 is largely due to Southee's first turn with the
ball. He claimed four of the first five wickets to fall to
reduce the hosts to 50-5, picking up where he left off in the
In his side's last test against India in Bangalore, Southee
recorded first innings figures of 7-64 - the sixth-best
return by a New Zealand bowler. While India eventually
prevailed, Southee set about repeating that effort in a
devastating first spell at the Galle International Stadium.
After striking shortly before stumps on Sunday the
23-year-old claimed 3-17 while bowling in tandem with an
equally dangerous Trent Boult, with the pair creating several
other nervous moments for the Sri Lankan batsmen.
Southee's first wicket came on the fourth ball of the day,
getting Tharanga Paranavitana to play on to reduce Sri Lanka
to 9-2. With both openers gone for ducks the heat fell on the
Sri Lankan middle order and, like their Kiwi counterparts
yesterday, they failed to deal with the pressure.
Southee was getting significant swing in the humid conditions
and he used it to terrorise Suraj Randiv, finding the outside
edge on consecutive balls with identical out-swinging
deliveries. The first edge flew straight to McCullum at third
slip and, after he dropped a simple catch, Guptill snagged
the second much to McCullum's relief.
Boult then chimed in with the prized wicket of Kumar
Sangakkara, claiming the veteran batsman for five to add to
an impressive list of career scalps already boasting Chris
Gayle, Jacques Kallis and Sachin Tendulkar.
Southee struck Thilan Samaraweera on the pad to complete a
fine first hour and make bowling advisor Chaminda Vaas appear
an inspired hire but, just when the Black Caps were
threatening to skittle Sri Lanka, Mahela Jayawardene and
Angelo Mathews came together.
The pair batted safely through the middle session to both
bring up their half centuries, particularly flourishing
against the ineffective Doug Bracewell.
Shortly after tea, though, James Franklin took his first test
wicket since 2009 to dismiss Mathews for 79 and end the
sixth-wicket partnership at 156.
The old adage about wickets falling in pairs again proved
true when Patel struck a short time later to remove Prasanna
Jayawardene for four. Sri Lanka edged ahead with an hour left
in the day before Patel grabbed his second, getting
Jayawardene for 91.
Once Patel took his third, the introduction of the new ball
finished off the hosts' innings when Boult claimed his second
scalp with just his second delivery.
- Kris Shannon of APNZ