New Zealand demolish Sri Lanka to sweep Test series

New Zealand players celebrate winning the Test series against Sri Lanka. Photo: Marty Melville/AFP

New Zealand players celebrate winning the Test series against Sri Lanka. Photo: Marty Melville/AFP

Published Mar 20, 2023


by Ryland James

Wellington - New Zealand claimed victory against Sri Lanka by an innings and 58 runs on Monday to secure a 2-0 Test series whitewash despite a late fightback from the visitors.

Sri Lanka notched just 164 in their first innings and were asked to follow on after the Black Caps declared at 580 in Wellington. They were then bowled out for 358.

"It was nice to get the win finished off, especially as the weather forecast wasn't great, which is part of the reason why we asked for the follow on," said New Zealand captain Tim Southee.

"It's been a pleasing few weeks in the whites with a number of guys stepping up at different times," he added with New Zealand on three straight Test wins including last month's thrilling victory over England to level that series 1-1.

New Zealand stuck to their task after Dhananjaya de Silva launched a fightback on Monday, passing 3,000 Test runs before being caught on 98, missing a 10th Test century.

The home seamers had already sniffed victory when they broke his 76-run partnership with debutant wicketkeeper Nishan Madushka, who was caught just before the tea break.

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The loss of de Silva signalled the end of the resistance -- Sri Lanka lost their last three wickets for 40 runs as the tailenders were picked off.

Southee and New Zealand seamer Blair Tickner did most of the damage with three wickets apiece.

After Sri Lanka resumed the day on 113-2, New Zealand's pace attack offered no respite in the first over of Monday as Matt Henry's delivery saw Kane Williamson catch Kusal Mendis on 50.

The visitors were in danger of folding at 116-4 soon after when Angelo Mathews also walked having added just two runs from 44 balls.

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De Silva slowed New Zealand's momentum in a partnership of 126 alongside Dinesh Chandimal in the first session, which ended when Tickner had Chandimal caught on 62 just before lunch.

De Silva maintained the resistance after the break by pairing up with Madushka, but their dismissals for no runs either side of tea left Sri Lanka still 98 runs short.

Kasun Rajitha took Sri Lanka past 350 runs with a four, a lucky edge that went past Michael Bracewell in the slips.

Bracewell made no mistake the second time with a diving catch to claim Lahiru Kumara's wicket off Southee.

Asitha Fernando survived a review after the ball clipped his trousers rather than his leg pad, but New Zealand sealed the victory when Rajitha was caught by Williamson, the hosts' top-scorer with a double century in the first innings.

"It's a really disappointing series for us. After doing really well in the first Test, we couldn't do anything better here," admitted Sri Lanka captain Dimuth Karunaratne.

"We couldn't hold our line bowling which cost us and our batters couldn't get a big score, so those are areas we need to work on."