GALLE – New Zealand spinner Ajaz Patel carved through Sri Lanka’s top-order and took five wickets to even the odds for the visitors after the second day of the opening Test in Galle on Thursday.
New Zealand were bowled out for 249 in the first session, but Sri Lanka struggled to get going during Patel’s spells and finished on 227/7, trailing by 22 runs.
Openers Dimuth Karunaratne and Lahiru Thirimanne patiently saw off the new-ball attack of Trent Boult and Tim Southee, before Patel was introduced as early as the 11th over in spin-friendly conditions.
The Indian-born left-armer, who finished with 5/76, struck in his first over to have Thirimanne stumped. Karunaratne was next to go with a similar delivery that trapped him lbw with the score on 66/2.
Kusal Mendis and Angelo Mathews built a 77-run partnership for the third wicket before Mendis (53) was dismissed the very next ball after bringing up his 10th half-century just before tea.