After a strong start, New Zealand struck twice quickly, but not before Kusal Mendis and Dimuth Karunaratne scored their half-centuries to form a 137-run partnership for the second wicket.
Chandimal and Matthews want to build on that momentum. Sri Lanka made a beeline for Tea on the first day of the season at the Hagley Oval in Christchurch on 209 for 3, with the veteran couple of Angelo Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal consistent on 28 and 24 separately.
Following Mendis’s attack, which brought the visitors to 120 for 1 at Lunch and a power-packed second hour of play, the second session’s early play followed a similar pattern. The students were moving the ball. Mendis continued the assault despite a few streaky boundaries.
Karunaratne advanced to his 32nd Test fifty after taking advantage of the length errors made by the New Zealand pacers offset by Mendis’ aggressive play. The batters were squared up and battered multiple times, but they bravely persevered through the difficult period before Mendis was trapped leg before on 87 by Tim Southee’s inswinger.
Mendis decided not to take a review this time, despite the fact that one of the batter’s previous reviews had been unsuccessful. Even Karunaratne was sent back quickly. Matt Henry’s extra bounce caught the outside edge of the southpaw’s bat and went straight to Tom Latham at second slip after being drawn into a drive.
During the first part of their time in the middle, Chandimal and Mathews had no easier time. A few packages went over the edge, but they fell into safe areas. Additionally, they were frequently beaten and appeared uneasy in the middle. A number of close leg-before appeals, a mixup in the middle, and a confident review for caught behind were rejected.
Run scoring, on the other hand, became relatively simple as the session progressed and the ball grew in age. Perhaps a brief period of rain helped. Chandimal ended the session with three consecutive boundaries in the final over, one ramped over the slip cordon, a half volley driven past mid-off, and a full delivery through cover, as the pair put on an unbeaten stand of 58 before Tea.
Earlier in the day, New Zealand chose to field after winning the toss. Even though the Sri Lankan openers were troubled by the moving ball, the hosts took the first wicket of the day with a delivery down the leg side in the seventh over. Southee’s pass to the goalkeeper was clipped by Oshada Fernando, who scored on 13.
However, Mendis did not slow down under the testing conditions. He went on the offensive, and after a little bit of luck when the edges found him a few boundaries, he hit some beautiful drives. In the morning session, he picked 15 boundaries, which upset the pacers from New Zealand.
As he was hammered for 30 runs in his first three innings, even Neil Wagner’s attempt to put the batter to the test with short pitches fell short. Similar treatment was given to Southee and Tickner, who each gave up three goals in an over.