The record 423-run win on Sunday, 30 December, helped them close 2018 on a high. They clinched the two-match series 1-0, for their fourth consecutive Test series win – their longest such streak. It is also the eighth-biggest victory, by runs, in Test history.
Sri Lanka fought to survive the fourth day, but victory, or even a draw, was a far sight away. Resuming the fifth day on 231/6, they were still 429 runs short. With Angelo Mathews having retired hurt, the hosts effectively needed three wickets.
New Zealand struck almost immediately in the morning, with Trent Boult, who had bowled an exceptional spell in the first innings, removing Suranga Lakmal on the third ball of the day. The batsman was completely beaten by an inswinger that disturbed his off stump, and had to walk back to the pavilion after adding just two runs to his overnight score of 16.
The next over saw the dismissal of Dilruwan Perera. Neil Wagner had troubled Perera on the penultimate day and he finally had his fourth wicket of the innings, with the batsman’s pull not coming off.
Boult had his third for the innings and ninth in the match with another delivery swinging in to trap Dushmantha Chameera in front. The batsman reviewed, but replays confirmed there was no bat involved and the ball was hitting leg stump.
With Mathews not coming out to bat, the innings finished on 236. In a game where all of New Zealand’s fast bowlers had a role to play, Tim Southee picked up the Player of the Match award for his haul of five wickets across both innings and crucial top score of 68 runs in the hosts’ first innings.
Southee’s knock had lifted New Zealand to 178 in their first hit, before Boult’s remarkable six-wicket spell triggered a Sri Lankan collapse for 104. A mammoth batting effort, with Tom Latham and Henry Nicholls making big hundreds set the visitors a target of 660, which proved too much. (Courtesy ICC)