17 Dec 2018

Black Caps need to press home their advantage

9:26 am on 17 December 2018

Black Caps opener Tom Latham says it was close to a perfect day for them as they took control of the first Test against Sri Lanka in Wellington, however they must now press home their advantage.

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson, right, and Tom Latham bat together at the Basin reserve.

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson, right, and Tom Latham bat together at the Basin reserve. Photo: Andrew Cornaga/Photosport

Latham scored his seventh Test century, his unbeaten 121, helping New Zealand to 311/2 after day two - a lead of 29 runs.

Jeet Raval made 43, Kane Williamson 91 and Ross Taylor is at the crease with Latham on 50.

Latham has faced 256 balls so far and he said he's trying to be patient.

"For me it was about trying to get them to bowl to me as much as possible, coming from the UAE where conditions are a lot different, so it was imporant for me to wait and score when the ball is a lot straighter and when it's shorter so it was nice to make a contribution and hopefully that can continue tomorrow."

Latham said they have to bat all day Monday.

"We've got eight wickets in hand so we try to get as many as possible on that wicket and hopefully give our bodies a good rest and hopefully they can come back fresh and do what they did in that first innings."

Black Caps selector Gavin Larsen said the side are in a good position for victory, but they need to keep the pressure up.

"It's all about just getting through this first hour (today). They've (Sri Lanka) still got a fairly new ball to use, if we can negotiate that we'll certainly be looking to bat most of the day."

Larsen said the Black Caps top order has been in fine form, but Williamson, who's averaging more than 90 against Sri Lanka in Tests, has been the standout.

"We see what his run output is like, it's just magnificent.

"He's leading from the front nicely, but we're playing some pretty good cricket and hopefully the boys can push through again today and then make it difficult for Sri Lanka across the final couple of days."

Williamson scored 91 as he and Latham combined for 162 runs for the second wicket.

The day's play was dominated by Williamson, who has risen to a career-best test ranking of number two in the world behind Indian skipper Virat Kohli.

Coincidentally both Willimson and Kohli were batting at the same time more than 5,200 kilometres apart.

Sri Lanka's first innings lasted just three overs in the first session when Tim Southee grabbed his sixth wicket after a brilliant diving catch by Colin de Grandhomme at leg slip to dismiss Lahiru Kumara for a duck.

The visitors were bowled out for 282 with Niroshan Dickwella left stranded on 80, while Southee finished with 6-68.