6 Jan 2015

Black Caps fightback at end of tough day three

5:34 pm on 6 January 2015

The Black Caps batsman Kane Williamson is closing in on his 9th test century, after New Zealand staged a fightback on a torrid third day of the second test against Sri Lanka in Wellington.

The Black Caps are 253 for 5 at stumps in their second innings, with a lead of 118 runs.

Williamson is on 80 while wicketkeeper BJ Watling has 48.

The pair put on 70 runs in the final session to help the hosts claw their way back into the test.

The duo have a partnership of 94 runs in total.

Resuming on 22 without loss this morning the Black Caps batted out the first hour of play before losing three wickets for just four runs to be left languishing on 96 for 3 at lunch.

The hosts then lost another two wickets after the break, with captain Brendon McCullum and all-rounder Jimmy Neesham, who's likely playing for his World Cup spot, the next to be undone at the Basin Reserve.

New Zealand's plight could have been worse, with the tourists dropping several catches throughout the day.

Kane Williamson

Kane Williamson batting on day three against Sri Lanka. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The wickets fell in the first two sessions, with Jimmy Neesham the last to fall for 19, out LBW to Nuwan Pradeep.

Pradeep continued his good form from the Black Caps' first innings, removing openers Hamish Rutherford, 40, and Tom Latham, 35, in quick succession before lunch.

Batsman Ross Taylor then fell to Rangana Herath for a duck.

Captain Brendon McCullum departed for 22 in the middle session.

Brendon McCullum

Brendon McCullum, right, at the crease at the Basin Reserve. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Once again Williamson has been the mainstay and at stumps opener Tom Latham said the side was confident it could still win the test.

"I think Kane and BJ are the perfect guys to be out there at the moment. They have shown how determined they are and we have shown when we have been in these situations before that we can get through," said Latham.

"We have certainly got fighting characteristics throughout the side and we're looking forward to tomorrow."

New Zealand do have recent form at batting themselves out of tough positions at the Basin Reserve.

In 2012, Williamson batted all of the final day to thwart South Africa's pace attack to finish on 102 not out.

Last year, Watling scored 124 as he combined with Brendon McCullum in a 352-run partnership as the captain went on to score New Zealand's first test triple century against India.

Latham said if the pair were still together at lunch or even tea on Tuesday then New Zealand would be well positioned to set a challenging target.

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