Wellington, March 20 (IANS) New Zealand registered an innings and 58-run victory over Sri Lanka in the second and final Test to sweep the series 2-0 as the tourists’ resistance finally broke late on day four, here on Monday.
Having been asked to follow-on, Sri Lanka needed 416 runs to make the hosts bat again but were bowled out for 358 in their second innings.
The win seemed beyond Sri Lanka when they resumed on 2-113 in the morning session but there was some hope they might bat out the day and even save the match with the help of heavy rain forecast on day five.
Four batters scored half-centuries and No.6 Dhananjaya de Silva ploughed on to the cusp of a century by tea. However, a wicket before and after the tea break, including De Silva’s dismissal for 98 put the game back in New Zealand’s hands as Sri Lanka fell to 318 for seven.
Tailenders Prabath Jayasuriya and Kasun Rajitha did well to resist for an hour before Jayasuriya top-edged a pull-shot off the spin of Bracewell to be out for two off 45 balls. Lahiru Kumara then joined Rajitha in the blocking mission and New Zealand grew frustrated as the pair resisted for nearly 16 overs.
It was Southee, who finally yielded the breakthrough when Kumara edged the ball to Bracewell in the slips to be out for seven. New Zealand were given extra overs to capture the final wicket but it was more a race against failing light than trying to beat the clock.
To the hosts’ relief, Rajitha soon nibbled at a Southee (3-51) delivery and sent an edge to the slips where Kane Williamson ended the batsman’s 110-ball vigil for 20 to wrap up the match.
Brief scores: Sri Lanka 164 (Dimuth Karunaratne 89; Matt Henry 3-44, Michael Bracewell 3-50) & 358 (Dhananjaya de Silva 98, Dinesh Chandimal 62; Tim Southee 3-51, Blair Tickner 3-84) lost to New Zealand 580/4 decl. (Kane Williamson 215, Henry Nicholls 200 not out; Kasun Rajitha 2-126) by an innings and 58 runs