WELLINGTON – Kusal Mendis and Angelo Mathews remained unbeaten on centuries as rain allowed for just 13 overs of play on the final day at Wellington’s Basin Reserve, drawing the first Test.
First wet weather delayed the start of the day’s play on Wednesday, 19 December, by close to ninety minutes. Then after just 50-odd minutes of play arrived another bout of showers which resulted in a damp end to a fine Test match.
Sri Lanka came into the fifth day still trailing New Zealand’s first innings score by 37 runs despite the herculean effort by Mendis and Mathews, who had batted all of the fourth day on a fantastic batting wicket. They finally finished on 287/3.
After New Zealand had posted a massive 578 on the back of Tom Latham’s unbeaten 264, Sri Lanka were in a tough position at 13/3 in their second dig, and were faced with the possibility of an innings defeat, having scored just 282 in the first innings.
But Mendis and Mathews showed tremendous fight against everything the New Zealand attack could throw at them. They hardly even offered a half chance throughout their vigil of well over 400 balls each.
The duo continued to display the same grit in the few overs on day five under slightly more bowler-friendly conditions. Mendis finished unbeaten on 141, while Mathews scored a fine 120*.
New Zealand would have felt they still had the chance to force a result had rain not interfered, even as Sri Lanka will rest happy in the knowledge that they earned their luck. The sides will next meet for the second and final Test of the series for the Boxing Day (26 December) Test at Hagley Oval.