New Zealand demolish Sri Lanka to sweep Test series

WELLINGTON (AFP): New Zealand claimed victory against Sri Lanka by an innings and 58 runs on Monday, securing a 2-0 Test series whitewash despite a late fightback from the visitors.

Sri Lanka notched just 164 in their first innings and were asked to follow on after the Black Caps declared at 580 in Wellington. They were then bowled out for 358.

Dhananjaya de Silva had launched a fightback on Monday, passing 3,000 Test runs before being caught on 98, missing a 10th Test century.

New Zealand’s seamers had already sniffed victory when they broke his 76-run partnership with debutant wicketkeeper Nishan Madushka, who was caught just before the tea break.

The loss of De Silva signalled the end of the resistance — Sri Lanka lost their last three wickets for 40 runs as the tailenders were picked off.

New Zealand skipper Tim Southee and seamer Blair Tickner did most of the damage with three wickets apiece.

After Sri Lanka resumed the day on 113-2, New Zealand’s pace attack offered no respite in the first over of Monday as Matt Henry’s delivery saw Kane Williamson catch Kusal Mendis on 50.

The visitors were in danger of folding at 116-4 soon after when Angelo Mathews also walked having added just two runs from 44 balls.

De Silva slowed New Zealand’s momentum in a partnership of 126 alongside Dinesh Chandimal in the first session, which ended when Tickner had Chandimal caught on 62 just before lunch.

De Silva maintained the resistance after the break by pairing up with Madushka, but their dismissals for no runs either side of tea left Sri Lanka still 98 runs short.

New Zealand slowly turned the screw as Prabath Jayasuriya managed just two runs off 44 balls when he top-edged his shot to Tickner.

Kasun Rajitha took Sri Lanka past 350 runs with a four which he was lucky to edge his shot past Michael Bracewell in the slips.

Bracewell made no mistake the second time with a diving catch to claim Lahiru Kumara’s wicket off Southee.

Asitha Fernando survived a review after the ball clipped his trousers rather his leg pad, but New Zealand sealed victory when Rajitha was caught by Williamson, the hosts’ top-scorer with a double century in the first innings.