Galle: Left-arm spinner Rangana Herath continued his love affair with the Galle International Stadium by picking up another five-wicket haul at the venue on Saturday, thus bowling out New Zealand for 211. Sri Lanka lost debutant Dimuth Karunaratne for 0 as Tim Southee struck an early blow before stumps, but the hosts will fancy their chances of going past New Zealand's first-innings given their record in Galle. At the close of day one of the first Test, Sri Lanka were 9 for 1 in five overs.
After a short wicketless spell in the first session, Herath started the procession with three blows after lunch as New Zealand slumped to 155 for 6 by the tea interval. First he pulled New Zealand back after a 90-run stand for the fourth wicket by bowling Brendon McCullum for 68 in the 42nd over. McCullum had reached his fifty soon after lunch and proceeded to play some attacking shots, but was bowled by a peach from Herath the very next delivery after hitting him over long-on for six.
In his 17th over, Herath then removed an obdurate James Franklin (3 off 43 balls) by winning an lbw shout. The ball held its line after pitching on middle and leg and hit the pads in line with the stumps. Daniel Flynn, who contributed 41 to the stand with McCullum, reached his half-century moments after Franklin's exit but failed to press on. When on 53, just minutes short of tea break, he chased a wide delivery and edged to the wicketkeeper.
Sri Lanka lost Karunaratne for 0 as New Zealand struck an early blow after being bowled out for 221, but will back themselves with the bat.
Having tasted success in the afternoon, Herath made further inroads into New Zealand's fragile batting after tea. In the 69th over, a sharp catch by Mahela Jayawardene at slip did for Doug Bracewell (12) as he defended and got an outside edge (181 for 7). Bracewell had put on 26 runs in 7.5 overs with Kruger van Wyk. Herath's fifth came in the 73rd over when van Wyk missed a faster delivery and was bowled for 28 (196 for 8). That gave Herath his fourth five-wicket haul in eight Tests in Galle.
Southee was reprieved when Suraj Randiv dropped a return catch, and batted well enough to get the total past 200 in the company of Jeetan Patel. But he too did not last long, and became Eranga’s third wicket when he slashed to backward point for 16. The innings ended with the wicket of Trent Boult, bowled by Nuwan Kulasekara for 7.
Earlier, Ross Taylor had won the toss and chose to bat, but the visitors were in early trouble after right-arm pacer Eranga sent back Martin Guptill (11) and Kane Williamson (0) in the fifth over. Both batsmen were caught in the slips - Guptill driving and Williamson poking at a shorter one - by Angelo Mathews and Tharanga Paranavitana respectively. Kulasekara then pegged back Taylor's off stump when the New Zealand captain missed the line to an in-cutter and inside-edged it onto his stumps. He contributed just 9.
From 40 for 3, McCullum and Flynn took New Zealand to a steady 80 for 3 at lunch, with the former playing some aggressive shots. There were moments of anxiety too, especially when the ball was pitched up outside off stump. As Sri Lanka’s bowlers slacked, McCullum and Flynn prospered; Flynn drove and cut well, with boundaries off Angelo Mathews and Kulasekara easing the pressure.
After lunch, however, the innings came apart as Herath got stuck in.