Dimuth Karunaratne led Sri Lanka’s slow but steady progress on a rain-hit first day at the P Sara Oval in Colombo. The Sri Lanka captain blunted the new ball and grew more fluent against the old one, making an unbeaten 49 off 100 balls, on a truncated day that saw only 36.3 overs. This, just three days after he had broken into the top ten in the Test batting rankings.
A persistent drizzle had wiped out the entire morning session before returning to delay the start of the final session of the day. Although it relented, fading light resulted in early stumps on the opening day.
ALSO READ: Williamson and Karunaratne, two ends of the control spectrum After Sri Lanka had opted to bat, both Tim Southee and Trent Boult found swing and seam movement on a grassy track, but their lengths weren’t full enough. It was offspinner Will Somerville who provided New Zealand with the breakthrough, when he extracted turn and bounce to have Lahiru Thrimanne, the other opener, spooning a catch to short cover for a skittish 2 off 35 balls.
Karunaratne, much like Thirimanne, had been uncertain when the ball was pitched up, and threaded the cordon twice when he reached out outside off in the early exchanges.
However, when Boult erred short, Karunaratne rose on top of the bounce and crunched him between point and cover for a brace of fours.
Karunaratne’s defensive technique was tighter against Somerville and Ajaz Patel although he faced only eight balls of spin.—Agencies