WELLINGTON: Blackcaps captain Kane Williamson admits he or his teammates could have done little more to claim victory in the first test against Sri Lanka in Wellington.
New Zealand seemed to be in the box seat for a big win after Day Three, following their first innings total of 578, while Sri Lanka were 13/3 in their second innings, after posting 282 earlier.
But Sri Lankan pair Kusal Mendis (141) and Angelo Mathews (120) batted out the entire fourth day – the first time a team had gone an entire day without losing a wicket in New Zealand – while rain interruptions on the final day at the Basin Reserve saw the first test end in a draw.
Mendis and Mathews shared an unbroken stand of 274, as Sri Lanka ended the game on a total of 287, still nine runs short of the Blackcaps’ outstanding first-innings total.
Asked what he might have done differently, the New Zealand captain quipped: “Maybe everything.
“I don’t know. Everything we did didn’t provide too many opportunities.
“We sat down and had a number of conversations with other senior players, and said ‘what’s something else we can try?’ We tried pretty much all of it.”
Williamson gave high praise to Mendis and Mathews for their remarkable performances at the crease.
“We shouldn’t ignore the fact that the two Sri Lankan batters played beautifully. I don’t think I’ve been part of a game where two guys have batted a whole day together and not given an opportunity.
“Very rarely do you go a whole day where there’s not an opportunity, regardless of what you try.
“I think that was the best we got. Without bounce in the surface and the defensive strokes that were played, nothing was carrying through to the keeper.
“We tried a number of short deliveries, which we’d like to think might have brought about something foreign in terms of strokeplay, but it was very difficult.
“That is one of the beauties of test cricket – two guys put their hand up and didn’t give us an opportunity for a day.”
The second and final test between the two nations takes place at Hagley Oval in Christchurch, starting on December 26.