Tom Latham scored a brilliant century to help New Zealand reach a good position after Dhananjaya de Silva's superb ton for Sri Lanka. (Image credit: Twitter)
For the first time in two days, the rain stayed away from the P Sara Oval in Colombo. Dhananjaya de Silva slammed his fifth century and his partnerships with the tail helped Sri Lanka reach 244 all out. Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor fell cheaply but Tom Latham scored his 10th century and help New Zealand end on 196/4, still trailing by 48 runs with two days to go. Latham's knock has give New Zealand a chance to wrest the initiative. When play resumed on day 3, Dhananjaya de Silva and Dilruwan Perera regularly found the boundaries as Sri Lanka looked to accelerate. Dhananjaya notched up his fifty with two fours off Ajaz Patel but the bowler had his revenge when he trapped Dilruwan Perera LBW. With only a few wickets remaining, Dhananjaya upped the ante as he farmed the strike and scored boundaries at will.
With the arrival of the second new ball, Dhananjaya raised his game and blasted Trent Boult for a six but Tim Southee got the wicket of Suranga Lakmal. Dhananjaya continued the assault and hammered Boult for a four and a six to move into the 90s. When Lasith Embuldeniya was cleaned up by Southee for 0, it seemed Dhananjaya would miss his century but he notched up his century in grand style. However, his innings ended on 109 when Boult took his third wicket.
In response, New Zealand started disastrously when Jeet Raval was snapped up by Dilruwan. New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson looked in good touch but on 20, he edged Lahiru Kumara to Kusal Mendis. Ross Taylor also started strongly but he fell to Embuldeniya for 23 and when Henry Nicholls (15) gave Dilruwan his second wicket, it looked like New Zealand would end up with a big deficit.
However, Latham held firm and rotated the strike brilliantly. He got able assistance from BJ Watling, who was the star in the Galle Test and the partnership helped New Zealand recover. The left-hander notched up his ton towards the fag end of the day as New Zealand stayed in the hunt to level the series after their loss in the Galle Test.