Niroshan Dickwella almost denied the 26th consecutive result in Sri Lanka, but Tom Latham continued his heroics and maintained Sri Lanka’s reputation of hating draws. All this despite rain playing spoilsport on all five days. Perhaps the ICC would consider changing the venue of the final of the World Test Championship from Lord’s to Colombo or Galle.
New Zealand’s victory did not come as a surprise. Earlier this year, they had staged a brilliant comeback in the UAE and beat Pakistan 1-2. It is saddening that they won’t be playing another Test on the ongoing tour, but they at least made sure they don’t lose the series, and added the crucial 60 points in the championship table.
All thanks to Tom Latham who batted out of his skin, scoring 154 off 251 and helping New Zealand take a massive first-innings lead of 197 runs. However, New Zealand too did not have a good time in the middle. The trio of Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, and Henry Nicholls added a mere 58 runs between them. BJ Watling too had his moments of struggle when he took the crease, but that was that. He survived and went on to score a century. Late fireworks from Colin de Grandhomme (83 off 77) helped New Zealand increase the run rate and declare the innings at 431 for 6.
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Unfortunately for Sri Lanka, Dimuth Karunaratne could not open the innings due to quadricep injury. Kusal Perera joined Lahiru Thirimanne and the pair walked back without scoring a run. Dhananjaya de Silva, who had scored a gritty hundred in the first innings, too could not make an impact. The onus thus rested upon Dickwella. He fought for 161 deliveries to salvage a draw, but Latham’s brilliance behind the stump ended Sri Lanka’s hopes.
Both Tim Southee and Trent Boult completed 250 wickets in Tests during the match.
New Zealand 431 for 6 dec (Latham 154, Watling 105*, de Grandhomme 83, Dilruwan 3/114) beat Sri Lanka 244 ( De Silva 109, Karunaratne 65, Southee 4/63, Boult, 3/75) and 122 (Dickwella 51, Southee 2/15, Boult 2/17) by an innings and 65 runs.