NZ make Sri Lanka toil hard

Fighting Vettori, Ryder help Kiwis avoid follow-on

Brendon McCullum is cleaned up by Thilan Thushara on Thursday. AFPThe duo, who came together with the Black Caps still needing 30 runs to avoid the follow-on in the rain-hit Test, put on a defiant stand of 36 after tea on the third day.

Ryder was dismissed for 42, but skipper Vettori returned unbeaten on 33 as New Zealand ended the day at 281 for eight, still 171 runs behind Sri Lanka’s first innings total of 452.

Tailender Iain O’Brien was the other batsman at the crease on three. Sri Lanka have two days, weather permitting, to force a win at the Galle International Stadium on a wearing wicket that has already started to assist the spinners.

Just 76 overs were bowled during the day after heavy rain delayed the start by 90 minutes and bad light ended play 20 minutes early.

The Black Caps, led by a gutsy 69 from left-handed opener Tim McIntosh, were sitting pretty at 180 for three when three wickets fell for 15 runs in the post-lunch session.
The collapse was triggered by two wickets from left-arm seamer Thilan Thushara, who had Ross Taylor caught behind for 35 and bowled Brendon McCullum for one off the inside edge.

Star spinner Muttiah Muralitharan had two lucky breaks when he earned a leg-before verdict against the sturdy McIntosh and had Jacob Oram caught off the pad at short-leg for 12.

Television replays showed Australian umpire Daryl Harper erred in both decisions.
The middle order collapse undid the good work of McIntosh, who had batted through the rain-affected morning session after resuming at his overnight score of 36.

The 29-year-old, who has a century to his credit in five previous Tests but had never played an international match outside New Zealand, hit six boundaries and a six.
Muralitharan also surpassed Australia’s Shane Warne in creating a new world record by bowling the highest number of maiden overs in Test cricket.

Muralitharan, playing in his 128th Test, overtook Warne’s record by bowling his 1752nd maiden over at the Galle Stadium. Warne has bowled 1751 maidens in his 145-Test career.

Score Board

SRI LANKA (I Innings)    452

NEW ZEALAND (I Innings, O/n: 87/2):

McIntosh lbw Muralitharan    69
Guptill b Thushara    24
Flynn b Mendis    14
Patel lbw Muralitharan    26
Taylor c P J’wardene b Thushara    35
Ryder b Kulasekara    42
McCullum b Thushara    1
Oram c (sub) b Muralitharan    12
Vettori (batting)    33
O'Brien (batting)    3

Extras (B-6, LB-5, NB-11)    22

Total (for 8 wkts, 105 overs)    281
Fall of wickets: 1-45, 2-80, 3-129, 4-180, 5-188, 6-195, 7-223, 8-259.
Bowling: Nuwan Kulasekara 10-2-41-1, Thilan Thushara 22-2-80-3, Mendis 34-8-75-1, Muttiah Muralitharan 37-9-66-3, Paranavitana 2-0-8-0.

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