Cricket: Taylor and Williamson set about Black Caps' recovery

New Zealand's captain Ross Taylor plays a shot during the first day of their second and final...
New Zealand's captain Ross Taylor plays a shot during the first day of their second and final cricket test match against Sri Lanka in Colombo. Photo by Reuters

Ross Taylor said at the toss this afternoon "we need to show the public that we can fight", and the New Zealand cricket captain was soon called into action after the Black Caps lost two early wickets in the second test against Sri Lanka in Colombo.

Guptill edged behind in the first over for four, prodding at a straight one from Nuwan Kulasekara, and Brendon McCullum was trapped in front off Shaminda Eranga also for four, reducing New Zealand to 14-2 after winning the toss and electing to bat.

McCullum, however, received a dud call from umpire Marais Erasmus after a thick inside edge, and was clearly annoyed as he trudged from the middle.

Taylor and Kane Williamson set about resurrecting New Zealand's innings and were 96-2 at lunch. Taylor lived a little dangerously at times, edging one through slips and then chopping another close to this stumps, but played positively as he progressed to 49 not out off 78 balls at lunch.

Williamson was more circumspect but used his feet well and was 38 at lunch on a largely even-paced pitch that took turn early.

The pair will need to kick on if New Zealand are to post a competitive first innings score considering they are playing only five specialist batsmen.

James Franklin paid the price for his lean run and was replaced by leg spinner Todd Astle, who is making his test debut, and highlighted the fact the tour selectors have little faith in Rob Nicol who is the only other batsman in Sri Lanka.

It means wicketkeeper Kruger van Wyk is likely to bat at No 6, with Doug Bracewell or Astle, who was formerly an opening batsman before converting himself into a leg spinner, at seven.

Tillakaratne Dilshan comes back into Sri Lanka's side after missing the last match due to a back injury meaning Dimuth Karunaratne, who scored a half-century in the second innings in Galle, was left out.

New Zealand are looking to avoid a sixth-straight defeat which would equal the worst in this country's cricket history. That was set between January 1954 and October 1955 against South Africa, England and Pakistan.


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