Wellington - Kane Williamson and BJ Watling produced an unbroken sixth wicket
stand of 94 to keep New Zealand alive on the third day of the second
Test against Sri Lanka in Wellington on Monday.
New Zealand were
253-5 at stumps, a 118-run advantage with five wickets in hand, after
the stubborn Williamson-Watling partnership recovered the innings from a
Williamson was on 80, in sight of his ninth Test century, and Watling was on 48, nearing his ninth half century.
despite their dogged fight, the odds remained in favour of Sri Lanka
pulling off a series-levelling win after losing the first Test in
Christchurch by eight wickets.
For New Zealand skipper Brendon
McCullum, returning to the Basin Reserve for the first time since his
match-saving 302 against India a year ago, there were to be no heroics
He was out for 22 while Jimmy Neesham, who scored a century in the India Test, was out for 19.
After McCullum's departure it fell to Williamson to shoulder responsibility for keeping New Zealand afloat.
was dropped on 29 and again on 60 in an otherwise cautious innings in
which the partnership has seen off the second new ball and ensured the
Test should extend deep into the fourth day at least.
had ended the first day of the Test in charge after making 221 on a
bowler's wicket and reducing Sri Lanka to 78-5 in reply.
Sangakkara's imperious 203 on the second day led Sri Lanka to a 135-run
first innings lead and gave the tourists the advantage.
Tom Latham and Hamish Rutherford started the New Zealand second innings
positively, reaching 75 before their reply was ripped apart in a 30-ball
burst that claimed three wickets.
Rutherford could not resist
slashing wildly during a barrage of short deliveries outside off and was
caught in the third-man trap.
His dismissal unsettled Latham who
shuffled around for a few more overs before being caught behind to give
Nuwan Pradeep a second wicket. Ross Taylor lasted just seven balls
before he was bowled by Rangana Herath.
From 75 without loss New
Zealand were quickly 79-3 with the fourth and fifth wickets of McCullum
and Neesham following at 122 and 159.
Pradeep, who was omitted
from the Sri Lanka line up in the first Test, showed he should not be
overlooked on New Zealand wickets with three for 57 to go with his
career best 63-4 in the first innings.