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1st Test: New Zealand v Sri Lanka, Colombo

Reports from The Electronic Telegraph

27-31 May 1998

Day 1: Fleming to the fore for New Zealand

By Joseph Cochrane in Colombo

STEPHEN Fleming played a captain's innings of 78 to help New Zealand to 282 for seven on the first day of the first Test against Sri Lanka yesterday in the R Premadasa Stadium.

Adam Parore finished the day unbeaten on 67 after helping raise 47 for the fifth wicket before Fleming was caught by Sanath Jayasuriya off Ruwan Kalpage when attempting to work the ball through the slips.

Fleming struck a dozen boundaries in his 218-minute stay, completing his 17th Test half-century and his fourth so far against Sri Lanka.

Parore continued to defy the Sri Lankan spinners, reaching his 11th Test fifty in 118 minutes with six boundaries.

After Matthew Horne was bowled by debutant spinner Niroshan Bandaratilleke, Bryan Young and Fleming put on 72 for the second wicket.

Day 2: Cairns undermines Sri Lanka reply

By Joseph Cochrane in Colombo

NEW ZEALAND fought back strongly on the second day of the first Test against Sri Lanka, reducing them to 251 for seven at the close.

At the start of the day New Zealand lost their last three wickets for 23, off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan ending with five wickets.

Medium-pacer Chris Cairns played a leading role in containing the prolific Sri Lankan batting line-up, capturing the important wickets of Sanath Jayasuriya (10) and Marvan Atapattu (0), both caught behind by Adam Parore. He also bowled Sri Lankan captain Arjuna Ranatunga for 49.

Cairns snapped up the wicket of Atapattu in his first over and an over later got rid of the dangerous Jayasuriya, who gloved a delivery to be caught down the leg side by wicketkeeper Parore.

Ranatunga and Romesh Kaluwitharana added 101 for the fifth wicket and Kaluwitharana had hit 13 fours when he was seventh out, bowled by slow left-armer Daniel Vettori.

Day 3: Fleming turns up the heat on Sri Lanka

By Nelson Clare in Colombo

STEPHEN FLEMING, the New Zealand captain, battled against oppressive heat to complete a century and put his side on top in the first Test against Sri Lanka here yesterday.

Fleming, who scored 78 in the first innings, hit one six and 11 fours in his unbeaten 106 to help New Zealand stretch their lead to 280 on the third day. He and Craig McMillan put on 100 in an unbroken fourth-wicket stand to take the touring team to 260 for three at the close.

Team physiotherapist Mark Harrison had to make frequent visits to the middle with anti-dehydration pills, drinks and ice packs to help Fleming during his five-hour innings in temperatures of around 34 C.

It was Fleming's second century in 35 Tests. His first was against England in Auckland in 1996-97. He was given splendid support by McMillan, who romped to 64 off just 76 balls, enriching the final session with one six and eight fours.

Their stand followed one of 92 for the third wicket between Fleming and Nathan Astle, who made 34 before being caught behind off Sanath Jayasuriya.

Sri Lanka's only success of the afternoon session came when opener Matthew Horne lobbed a catch to Arjuna Ranatunga at short midwicket off Mutthiah Muralitharan. He made 35. Left-arm spinner Niroshan Bandaratilake made the initial breakthrough, trapping Bryan Young leg-before for 11.

Earlier, Sri Lanka, resuming their first innings at 251 for seven, were all out for 285 after left-arm spinner Daniel Vettori struck twice in his opening over. Vettori had Pramodya Wickremasinghe leg-before for 27, ending a stand of 47 with Bandaratilake. Four balls later, he bowled Muralitharan for nought. The innings ended one run later when Bandaratilake was run out for 20.

Day 5: Spinners turn over Sri Lanka

By Nelson Clare in Colombo

THE spinners Paul Wiseman and Daniel Vettori shared eight wickets to bowl New Zealand to a 167-run victory over Sri Lanka in the first Test in Colombo yesterday.

Sri Lanka, needing 465 to win, collapsed from 194 for two at lunch to 297 all out 44 minutes after tea on the fifth and final day to put New Zealand ahead in the three-match series.

Wiseman, an off-spinner, marked his Test debut with second-innings figures of five for 82, while the left-armer Vettori broke through the middle order to finish with three for 101.

Having taken the wickets of openers Sanath Jayasuriya and Maravan Atapattu overnight, Wiseman and his fellow bowlers were held up when Sri Lanka resumed at 111 for two. Aravinda de Silva and Mahela Jayawardene took their third-wicket stand to 105 as they propelled their side to a comfortable position at lunch.

However, a superb spell by Vettori on the resumption thrust New Zealand towards victory. He trapped de Silva leg before for 71 - his 18th Test half-century - with the first delivery after lunch and then took out Arjuna Ranatunga and Ruwan Kalpage.

Stephen Fleming, New Zealand's captain, won the man-of-the-match award having scored 78 in the first ininngs and 176 not out in the second. The second Test begins in Galle on Wednesday.

Source: The Electronic Telegraph
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Date-stamped : 01 Jun1998 - 06:34