Colin de Grandhomme's aggressive knock has helped New Zealand build a decent lead against Sri Lanka with just one day to go in the Colombo Test. (Image credit: ICC Twitter)
A century stand between Tom Latham and B.J. Watling helped New Zealand to a first innings lead against Sri Lanka on day four of the rain-hit second Test on Sunday. New Zealand were 295 for five at tea, leading the hosts by 51 runs after the first session was washed out due to rain and wet outfield at Colombo's P. Sara Oval. Resuming from the overnight score of 196 for four, the Kiwis added 99 runs in the extended afternoon session losing the only wicket of Latham. Latham, who made 154, and Watling, batting on 62, put on 143 runs for the fifth wicket to frustrate the Sri Lankan bowling attack that made early inroads in to the Kiwi batting on day three.
Off-spinner Dilruwan Perera broke the marathon stand after trapping Latham lbw on a delivery that pitched and hurried on to the batsman's pad. The left-handed opener reviewed the decision but replays suggested the ball would have hit the leg stump and the TV umpire upheld the on-field official's call. Latham, who started the day on 111, registered his fifth 150 plus score in Tests. His career-best 264 not out also came against Sri Lanka in Wellington last year. Watling, who completed his 18th Test fifty, then stood guard with Colin de Grandhomme, batting on 19 with the help of two sixes, for company at the break.
Sri Lanka are without the services of wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella and captain Dimuth Karunaratne, who has strained a muscle of his left leg and will not be able to open the batting during Sri Lanka's second innings. Angelo Mathews is the stand-in-captain and substitute Dinesh Chandimal is keeping wickets. Dickwella has a cut on his little finger of his left-hand on day three. Sri Lanka, who lead the two-match series 1-0, made 244 after electing to bat first in a match that has witnessed numerous rain interruptions.