2nd Test: Sri Lanka v New Zealand at Kandy, 3-7 May 2003
The Wisden Bulletin by Charlie Austin

New Zealand 2nd innings: Day 5 - Tea,
Live Reports from previous days

The second Test crackled back to life on the final day, with Sri Lanka needing an improbable 191 from 38 overs in the final session to win the series.

Muttiah Muralitharan inflicted most of the damage with a three-wicket haul in the morning. He left New Zealand reeling at 144 for 7 at lunch. Muralitharan finished with 5 for 49, claiming his 450th Test wicket in the process.

A stubborn eighth-wicket partnership between Robbie Hart (29) and Paul Wiseman (12) gobbled up precious time during the afternoon, before New Zealand were eventually bowled out for 183 at tea.

Sri Lanka wrested back the initiative with Muralitharan bowling his heart out, taking the crucial early wicket of Mathew Sinclair (55). He then snared Jacob Oram (16) and the injured Daniel Vettori (0) in quick succession before lunch to have New Zealand tottering at 139 for 7.

However, Muralitharan, who was searching for one wicket to complete 450 Test wickets and claim a world record 37 five-fors, was unable to prise out Hart or Wiseman. The pair chiseled out 40 precious runs. More importantly, they occupied the crease for 28.1 overs to give Sri Lanka less time to chase any total that New Zealand set.

Chaminda Vaas finally broke through, as Hart feathered a leg-cutter into Romesh Kaluwitharana’s gloves (179 for 8). Muralitharan then claimed his 450th Test wicket as Daryl Tuffey (1) skied a sweep to Sanath Jayasuriya at deep square leg. Vaas wrapped up the innings as Wiseman edged to first slip.

At the start of play, Stephen Fleming and Richardson tried to be positive but soon faltered. Richardson was the first to depart. He added just four runs to his overnight 51 before edging Prabath Nissanka into the gloves of Kaluwitharana (109 for 2).

Sinclair, overly anxious to come forward to Muralitharan and smother the extravagant spin, was deceived by an arm ball and exited for a duck. The delivery fizzed past the outside edge and Kaluwitharana whipped off the bails as Sinclair lost his balance (110 for 3). It marked the end of a dismal series for Sinclair, who scored just 21 runs in four innings.

Suddenly it was game on. Sri Lanka attacked with Muralitharan and then blocked up the other end with medium-pace bowling. The New Zealand batsmen lost their way thereafter, scoring just five runs in the 44 minutes after the fall of Sinclair. The pressure increased and Vaas, varying his pace intelligently, deceived Scott Styris (1), who lobbed up a catch to Muralitharan at mid-on (115 for four). New Zealand had lost three wickets for just six runs.

But Fleming, after his batting heroics in Colombo, was always the key man for New Zealand. He assumed the responsibility of seeing off Muralitharan and added 21 valuable runs with Oram. Fleming was eventually snared by Kumar Dharmasena, the offspinner, as he edged a catch to Kaluwitharana, to expose New Zealand’s tail. It was Dharmasena’s first wicket of the match. Fleming had scored 33, with three boundaries (136 for 5).

Muralitharan then swung the match emphatically towards Sri Lanka, trapping Oram lbw for 16 with an arm ball, and then bowling the injured Daniel Vettori (0) behind his legs shortly before the lunch (139 for 7).

© Wisden CricInfo

Date-stamped : 07 May2003 - 15:25