Blackcaps v Sri Lanka: New Zealand batters in trouble as wickets tumble in reply at Hagley Oval

Regular wickets have seen the Blackcaps struggle in reply to Sri Lanka, as the tourists tormented the New Zealand batters on day two of the first test at Hagley Oval.

The Blackcaps ended the day at 162/5, with Daryl Mitchell left stranded on a well-played unbeaten 40 runs, with only two others reaching double figures.

Latham is bowled.
Latham is bowled. Photo credit: Getty Images

After losing Kane Williamson to the last delivery before tea, new batter Henry Nicholls lasted just six balls after the break to be dismissed for two runs.

The middle-order batter was tempted into a pull with the extra bounce finding a top edge and falling safely to mid-on.

New Zealand looked to have found resolve in Mitchell, before Latham fell for a hard-fought 67 runs, with a zipping yorker from Asitha Fernando dislodging the bails.

The Blackcaps lost their final wicket of the day just five overs before the end of play, with Tom Blundell knicking Kasun Rajitha for seven runs.

Michael Bracewell survived a challenging last over from Rajitha to see New Zealand through to stumps on day two with it all to do.

After a steady, if not unspectacular session after lunch, Devon Conway was trapped lbw by Asitha Fernando for 30 runs, with a review failing to save him.

His dismissal brought a tentative Williamson to crease, who never looked settled with a couple of plays and misses, before finding Dimuth Karunaratne in the field.

Latham and Conway had made inroads into Sri Lank's first innings score, but struggled to match their tourists' runrate, at just over two an over.

But despite their slow scoring, New Zealand looked to be in control without a wicket lost, until the double strike swung the test back in Sri Lank's favour.

In the day's first session, Tim Southee added another milestone to his ever-expanding resume, securing his 15th test five-wicket bag, as his Blackcaps ran through the Sri Lanka batting tail.

Blackcaps celebrate a wicket against Sri Lanka
Blackcaps celebrate a wicket against Sri Lanka. Photo credit: Photosport

New Zealand needed 16 overs to capture the four remaining wickets, eventually dismissing their rivals for 355 in their first innings.

With one wicket needed to wrap up the Sri Lankan effort, Southee and teammate Matt Henry were essentially competing for bowling honours, peppering the last two batsmen in their quest for their fifth wickets.

Southee was unlucky not to have Fernando with a delivery that was edged over slips for four, but finally had his man in his next over, trapped lbw, completing figures of 5/64. Henry finished with 4/80.

By lunch, Blackcaps openers Latham and Conway had wiped 12 runs from their chase, although Latham barely survived an lbw review, after the ball pitched outside leg stump. 

The skipper took the first scalp of the morning in just the second over, as Dhananjaya de Silva offered an outside edge and wicketkeeper Blundell completed the catch.

Held back for the new ball, Henry only needed four deliveries to capitalise, when Kasun Rajitha skied a top edge to a tumbling Williamson at extra cover. He added Prabath Jayasuriya, caught by Blundell, to close on his five-for, but was ultimately denied by Southee.

The last four Sri Lanka batters all realised their highest test batting scores, putting on 39 runs for their combined wickets.

On the opening day of the first of two tests, Southee moved past Daniel Vettori (361) as New Zealand's second-highest wicket-taker in the long format, behind only Sir Richard Hadlee, whose 431 was once a world record.

Sri Lanka 355 (Mendis 87, Karunaratne 50, Mathews 47, de Silva 46; Southee 5/64, Henry 4/80) NZ 162/5 (Latham 67, Mitchell 40no; Kumara 2/34, Fernando 2/42)

NZ trail by 193 runs after day two