By Nelson Clare in Colombo
NEW ZEALAND restricted Sri Lanka to 200 for eight on the opening day of the third and final Test at the Sinhalese Sports Club ground here yesterday.
Paceman Chris Cairns, the only genuine fast bowler in their team, did most of the damage to finish the day with four for 58, including the prized scalp of new vice-captain Sanath Jayasuriya for 13.
In the first over after lunch, Cairns removed Mahela Jayawardene for 16 and Aravinda de Silva for four.
In the process, Cairns took his 100th Test wicket and after coming on for a third spell, dismissed Kumara Dharmasena.
Tillekaratne (43) and Atapattu offered some resistance, but failed to capitalise before off-spinner Paul Wiseman and medium pacer Craig McMillan terminated their knocks.
Atapattu (48) top-edged a sweep and was caught by Daniel Vettori at short fine-leg while Tillekaratne was caught at slip.
McMillan was also responsible for running out Arjuna Ranatunga for four by deflecting a full-blooded drive from Atapattu onto the stumps at the non-striker's end.
Day 2: Sri Lanka revived by de Silva's tidy haul
By Nelson Clare in Colombo
PART-TIME off-spinner Aravinda de Silva returned career-best figures of three for 30 yesterday to give Sri Lanka a narrow first innings lead over New Zealand on the second day of the third and final Test.
Sri Lanka, who made 206, dismissed New Zealand four minutes before the close for 193. The series is tied 1-1.
De Silva, who had bowled three unsuccessful overs, completed an unfinished over from the injured Muttiah Muralitharan and went on to take three wickets from 52 balls. His previous best was three for 39 against South Africa at the same venue five years ago.
New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming, taking full advantage of a dropped return catch by Kumara Dharmasena when on six, top-scored with 78, including eight fours.
De Silva first broke a threatening fourth wicket partnership of 64 between Fleming and Matthew Horne (35), and went on to dismiss Craig McMillan (2) and Adam Parore (19).
Parore and Mark Priest (12) helped Fleming in useful partnerships of 30 and 38, but the Sri Lanka spinners kept a stranglehold as Muralitharan came back to capture two late order wickets.
The New Zealand innings ended when Fleming was bowled off his pads by Pramodya Wickremasinghe with the second new ball.
Earlier, Chris Cairns and Daniel Vettori wrapped up the Sri Lanka innings after the home side had resumed at 200 for eight. Cairns, the only genuine paceman in the New Zealand team, finished with five for 62.
Day 3: Sri Lanka lifted by record stand
By Nelson Clare in Colombo
A RECORD 10th-wicket partnership between Romesh Kaluwitharana and Muthiah Muralitharan left Sri Lanka in a strong position in the third and deciding Test against New Zealand here yesterday.
The pair put on 71 together, a Sri Lankan best against New Zealand, to set the visitors a target of 296 with two days remaining.
Sri Lanka were in serious trouble at 140 for six before some superb batting by Kaluwitharana, who made 88 and was solidly supported by Muralitharan, unbeaten on 26, frustrated the tourists.
The left-arm spinner Daniel Vettori took a career-best six for 64 but failed to prevent Kaluwitharana and Muralitharan improving the mark of 60 set by Vinothen John and Jayantha Amerasinghe at Kandy on the 1993-94 tour.
Kaluwitharana, missed by Bryan Young at slip off Mark Priest before he had reached double figures, made his team's top score in 170 minutes. He had struck eight fours before finally falling leg before to Priest.
The early Sri Lanka batting was held together by Arjuna Ranatunga (64) and Hashan Tillekeratne (40), who raised 102 for the fifth wicket and stabilised the side after Vettori snapped up three early wickets for 16.
New Zealand were 10 without loss at the close.
Day 4: Sri Lanka spin way to triumph
By Matthew Hannah in Colombo
Spin spelt defeat here for New Zealand yesterday as Sri Lanka wrapped up the three-match Test series 2-1, Muttiah Muralitharan and Niroshan Bandaratilleke exploiting a helpful pitch for a 164-run win.
The New Zealand batsmen were never able to come to terms with the two spinners and they paid the price for not using their feet to get to the pitch of the ball.
Muralitharan finished with figures of five for 30 and was made man of the series for a haul of 19 wickets, while his partner took four for 52 to finish with 16 wickets in the three matches.
Needing 296 to win, New Zealand lost their last seven wickets for just 51 runs after taking lunch at 80 for three from an overnight 10 without loss.
Wicketkeeper Romesh Kaluwitharana was declared man-of-the-match for his top score of 88 which turned the game in Sri Lanka's favour the previous day.
At 44, New Zealand's highest opening partnership in this low-scoring series, Muralitharan got a ball to move down the leg side away from Bryan Young and had him stumped by Kaluwitharana for 24.
Stephen Fleming, the captain, followed a few balls later, leg before to Kumar Dharmasena. He appeared surprised by umpire Peter Manuel's decision, having set off for a run.
Muralitharan then took a diving return catch to his left to dismiss Craig Spearman for a painstaking 22 made in 109 minutes.
Bandaratilleke triggered the collapse in the second over after lunch by having Mathew Horne caught behind for 12.
The left-armer then bowled Chris Cairns and Mark Priest in the same over. Cairns, who made 26 and top-scored for New Zealand, earlier struck two sixes over Bandaratilleke's head.
The game was all over an hour before tea when Muralitharan bowled Daniel Vettori.