COLOMBO, Nov 28: Tim Southee and Doug Bracewell rocked Sri Lanka with two wickets apiece to boost New Zealand’s chances of posting a series-levelling win in the second and final Test here on Wednesday.

The hosts, needing 363 to win, were struggling at 47-4 in their second innings at stumps on the penultimate day when 17 wickets fell at the P. Sara Oval.

Fast bowler Southee, who took five wickets in the first innings, continued to trouble the Sri Lankan batsmen as he removed openers Tharanga Paranavitana and Tillakaratne Dilshan in his lively opening spell.

Paceman Bracewell then grabbed two big wickets when he bowled Kumar Sangakkara (16) and had skipper Mahela Jayawardene (5) caught behind.

New Zealand skipper Ross Taylor, who scored a hundred in the first innings, top-scored with 74 after his team had lost three wickets for one run off four balls.

New Zealand went into the match on the back of five successive losses, their worst run in 57 years. Their last win in Sri Lanka was in 1998 and they were thrashed in the first Test of the series in Galle, losing by 10 wickets inside three days.

New Zealand, leading by 168 runs, declared their second innings at 194-9 to set a challenging target for the hosts.

The tourists slipped from 74-2 to 75-5 before Taylor and debutant Todd Astle (35) steadied the innings with a 97-run stand for the sixth wicket.

Paceman Nuwan Kulasekara had Kane Williamson (18) caught by Paranavitana in the slips and then trapped Daniel Flynn leg-before with the last two balls of his eighth over.

Left-arm spinner Rangana Herath then struck with the second delivery of the next over, having Kruger van Wyk caught by Paranavitana at leg-slip for a duck. The New Zealand wicket-keeper had the mortification of bagging a pair in this Test.

“Southee, Trent Boult and Bracewell again bowled excellent spells for us. They’re getting anything and everything out of the wicket,” said New Zealand coach Mike Hesson.

“We’ve been able to string four good days together and tomorrow is a huge day for us. It’s nice to get three of the big boys [Jayawardene, Dilshan and Sangakkara] this evening.

“We know we are going to have to work for every one of those six wickets [on Thursday].”

Taylor played a responsible knock and reached his half-century with just one four when he fluently drove off-spinner Suraj Randiv through the covers, while Astle provided valuable support.

Astle was unlucky to be caught after the tea-break as his attempted sweep off Randiv hit the boot of a close-in fielder before going to Dilshan at short mid-wicket.

Southee earlier finished with 5-62 for his third five-wicket haul in a Test innings and left-arm paceman Boult with 4-42 as Sri Lanka were bowled out for 244 in their first innings in reply to New Zealand’s 412.

New Zealand needed just 7.4 overs of pace in the morning to claim the last four wickets for 19 after the hosts had resumed at 225-6, with Boult taking three and Southee one.

Thilan Samaraweera fell at his overnight score of 76 while Randiv (39) made just five in the morning. The pair added 97 for the seventh wicket.—Agencies

Scoreboard NEW ZEALAND (1st Innings) 412 (L.R.P.L. Taylor 142, K.S. Williamson 135, D.R. Flynn 53; H.M.R.K.B. Herath 6-103). SRI LANKA (1st Innings, overnight 225-6): N.T. Paranavitana c van Wyk b Southee    40 T.M. Dilshan b Southee    5 K.C. Sangakkara c Boult b Southee    0 M. Jayawardene c Williamson b Boult    4 A.D. Mathews c Guptill b Southee    47 T.T. Samaraweera c Guptill b Boult    76 P. Jayawardene c Williamson b Patel    12 S. Randiv lbw b Boult    39 K.M.D.N. Kulasekara c Taylor b Southee    6 H.M.R.K.B. Herath c Williamson b Boult    5 R.M.S. Eranga not out    3

EXTRAS (LB-3, W-1, NB-3)    7 TOTAL (all out, 94 overs)    244 FALL OF WKTS: 1-7, 2-7, 3-12, 4-102, 5-103, 6-128, 7-225, 8-232, 9-240. BOWLING: Southee 22-4-62-5 (1nb); Boult 21-7-42-4 (2nb, 1w); Patel 22-3-47-1; Astle 13-2-41-0; Bracewell 13-1-44-0; Williamson 3-1-5-0.

NEW ZEALAND (2nd Innings): M.J. Guptill c Dilshan b Eranga    11 B.B. McCullum st P. Jayawardene b Herath    35 K.S. Williamson c Paranavitana b Kulasekara    18 L.R.P.L. Taylor run out    74 D.R. Flynn lbw b Kulasekara    0 C.F.K. van Wyk c Paranavitana b Herath    0 T.D. Astle c Dilshan b Randiv    35 D.A.J. Bracewell c Kulasekara b Herath    1 T.G. Southee not out    8 J.S. Patel st P. Jayawardene b Randiv    0 T.A. Boult not out    6

EXTRAS (LB-4, NB-2)    6 TOTAL (for nine wkts decl, 54 overs)    194 FALL OF WKTS: 1-32, 2-56, 3-74, 4-74, 5-75, 6-172, 7-177, 8-180, 9-182.BOWLING: Kulasekara 12-2-47-2; Eranga 10-1-39-1 (1nb); Herath 21-3-67-3; Randiv 11-1-37-2 (1nb). SRI LANKA (2nd Innings): N.T. Paranavitana lbw b Southee    0 T.M. Dilshan c van Wyk b Southee    14 K.C. Sangakkara b Bracewell    16 M. Jayawardene c van Wyk b Bracewell    5 T.T. Samaraweera not out    1 A.D. Mathews not out    1 EXTRAS (B-4, LB-6)    10 TOTAL (for four wkts, 15.4 overs)    47 FALL OF WKTS: 1-0, 2-35, 3-41, 4-46. BOWLING (to-date): Southee 6-0-19-2; Boult 5-2-12-0; Bracewell 4-3-5-2; Patel 0.4-0-1-0.


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