If Sri Lanka has nightmares on their current tour of New Zealand, then it will be because of Tom Latham. The left-handed opener had created history by becoming only the second New Zealand player after Glenn Turner in history to carry the bat through the innings in Wellington. His score of 264 was the highest by an individual batsman while carrying his bat through the innings. In Christchurch, latham slammed his second century of the series as his magnificent 176, combined with Henry Nicholls’ 162* helped New Zealand reach 585/4 declared to set Sri Lanka an improbable target of 660 with two days to spare. Latham’s knock has shattered plenty of records in this two-Test series.
Latham’s magnificent knock took his series aggregate to 450 runs in three innings, which is the 11th most by any player in a two-Test series. Sri Lanka’s Sanath Jayasuriya leads the tally with 571 runs in two Tests during the 1997 series. In that series, he scored 340 and 199 in two Tests at the Premadasa stadium and the Sinhalese Sports Club. Latham’s tally is the second-most by a New Zealand player in a two-Test series behind Brendon McCullum’s 535 during the series against India in 2014. In that series, McCullum blasted 224 in Auckland and had created history when he became the first New Zealand player to score a triple century with his 302 in Wellington.
Latham, though, became only the second opener in history to hit 450 runs or more in a two-Test series, the first being Jayasuriya. The left-hander became the first New Zealand opener to hit 600 runs in a calendar year three times while he also hit a score of 150+ on three different occasions, which is also the first for a New Zealand opener.
Latham’s magnificent form has ensured New Zealand cannot lose the match in Christchurch. With Sri Lanka stumbling at 24/2, New Zealand need another eight wickets to win a fourth consecutive series but Sri Lanka will be hoping that they can produce a similar fightback like they did in Wellington when Angelo Mathews and Kusal Mendis slammed fifties to secure an unlikely draw.