Sri Lanka dream in worst nightmare | Sunday Observer

Sri Lanka dream in worst nightmare

19 March, 2023

Having moved into the most important Test series, Sri Lanka left the second day’s play of the final cricket Test against New Zealand buried under a pile of runs as the Kiwis declared at a formidable 480 for 4 to have the islanders wobbling at 26 for two at Wellington yesterday.

Unable to qualify for the final of the World Test Championship by losing the first Test, Sri Lanka could not have expected to be put into a worse situation as New Zealand’s batting duo of Kane Williamson and Henry Nicholls struck imposing double hundreds while the bowlers were taken to the cleaners.

To make matters worse replacement wicket keeper Nishan Fernando failed to hold on to a catch by diving low to his left after an out-of-form Nicholls edged the delivery with his score on six.

The miss proved costly and came at a time Sri Lanka dropped the experienced keeper Niroshan Dickwella who had a miserable first Test with both bat and glove.

When Nicholls and Williamson starred in a whopping 363-run partnership for the third wicket nothing could have been more frustrating for Sri Lanka than recall the dropped catch off Nicholls’ bat as the three fast bowlers in Lahiru Kumara, Kasun Rajitha and Asitha Fernando conceded 400 runs among them that marked a massacre of the bowling.

Sri Lanka also had a late chance of grabbing the scalp of Nicholls with the batsman on 92 when part time spinner Dhananjaya de Silva dropped what was a straight forward catch.

Nicholls made a mockery of the bowlers and even struck Asitha Fernando for two sixes and a four in the last over before the tea break in making his first double century after Williamson made 215.

Nicholls and Williamson accounted for 38 of New Zealand’s 54 fours. Nicholls was the more aggressive of the two as he smashed four sixes while Williamson hit two.

Sri Lanka could not even survive the last hour before the day’s play ended and lost the wickets of Oshada Fernando (6) and Kusal Mendis for a duck.