26 Aug 2019

Hopes alive for Black Caps

6:12 am on 26 August 2019

Half centuries from Colin de Grandhomme and BJ Watling have given New Zealand a first-innings lead of 138 against Sri Lanka on the fourth day of their second and final Test in Colombo.

Colin de Grandhomme

Colin de Grandhomme Photo: Photosport

The touring side, who need a series-levelling win after Sri Lanka won the opener in Galle, reached 5-382 on another rain-interrupted day.

Watling was unbeaten on 81 while de Grandhomme was 83 not out after a blistering knock with his side needing quick runs to set Sri Lanka a target on the final day.

After rain allowed just 66 overs of play on the first two days of the match, the start of the fourth day was also delayed due to wet weather and eventually only 48 overs could be bowled on Sunday.

Overnight centurion Tom Latham and Watling continued accumulating runs with ease and took their side past Sri Lanka's first-innings total of 244.

The pair added 143 for the fifth wicket for the Black Caps before Latham was finally out leg before for 154, giving off-spinner Dilruwan Perera his third wicket.

There was, however, no respite for the hosts' bowlers as all-rounder De Grandhomme went on the attack, hitting five sixes and an equal number of fours in his 75-ball knock.

He and Watling added 113 for the unbroken sixth wicket, giving hopes of victory.

Sri Lanka did not have regular captain Dimuth Karunaratne on field after he suffered a small tear in his quadriceps while fielding on Saturday.

Former captain Angelo Mathews led the side in his absence and Karunaratne will be unable to open the innings and bat higher than number seven in Sri Lanka's second innings.

- Reuters