A New Zealand batting collapse of epic proportions against Sri Lankan spin whiz Rangana Herath has consigned them to a 10-wicket defeat in the first cricket test in Galle.
A day of high hopes for the tourists quickly descended into gloom as the match ended in a rush, just before tea on the third day. New Zealand earlier lost 9-83 at Galle International Stadium to be shot out for 118 in their second innings soon after lunch.
It left Sri Lanka just 93 to win, which openers Dimuth Karunaratne and Tharanga Paranavitana knocked off in the 19th over.
It was New Zealand’s fifth consecutive test defeat, after 2-0 series losses in the West Indies and India, and the odds will be short on it becoming six in a row when the second test starts in Colombo on Sunday.
Left-armer Herath was a clear choice for man of the match, taking 6-43 in the second innings after an impressive haul of 5-65 in the first, when New Zealand posted 221 after winning the toss.
The tourists resumed on 35-1, an overall lead of nine, and the test evenly poised after New Zealand’s solid bowling performance on day two, led by Tim Southee.
There was no hint of the carnage to follow on a pitch that still appeared good for batting, with some turn for the spinners.
Opener Martin Guptill sparked the collapse with a false shot in the day’s third over. On 13, he picked the wrong line from Sri Lankan paceman Nuwan Kulasekara, played to the on-side and was bowled by one that straightened.
Kane Williamson was unlucky to be caught behind down the leg side off Kulasekara, then captain Ross Taylor’s dismissal for 18 sparked Herath’s onslaught.
Having been beaten by two that turned sharply, Taylor was deceived by Herath’s arm ball and trapped lbw for 18.
James Franklin charged and was comically stumped by one that gloveman Prasanna Jayawardene dropped onto the stumps; topscorer Daniel Flynn (20) was bowled by one that turned sharply and bounced, then Doug Bracewell was trapped in front first ball.
Southee survived the hat-trick delivery and hit out, scoring 16 off 14, before he charged and was stumped on the stroke of lunch to give off-spinner Suraj Randiv his first wicket of the match.
After two big sixes from No 11 Trent Boult, the innings folded in 44.1 overs, with Kruger van Wyk unbeaten at the end. (Fairfax NZ News)