New Zealand set Sri Lanka tough 267 to win first Test - GulfToday

New Zealand set Sri Lanka tough 267 to win first Test


New Zealand's Trent Boult plays a shot during the first Test cricket match against Sri Lanka in Galle, Sri Lanka, on Saturday.

New Zealand were bowled out for 285 in their second innings on Saturday, setting Sri Lanka a tough target of 267 runs to win the first Test at Galle.

No team have successfully chased more than 99 runs at Galle, giving the visitors hope they can be victorious at the ground for the first time ever after three previous losses.

However, while the Galle wicket traditionally helps spin bowlers, the resistance shown by New Zealand's tail-enders suggested this particular wicket may not have the usual demons.

The wagging of New Zealand's tail cost the Sri Lankans dearly as the last five wickets added 187 runs after the first five fell for just 98.

Sri Lanka's cricketer Dhananjaya de Silva (left) celebrates during the fourth day of the opening Test cricket match. AFP

Wicketkeeper B.J. Watling, who had stitched a 54-run stand with Tim Southee for the seventh wicket on day three, added 46 runs for the eighth wicket with William Somerville before being caught behind off Lahiru Kumara for 77. He faced 173 deliveries and hit six fours.

Kumara, who was used sparingly as Sri Lanka relied heavily on spin bowlers, generated serious pace at times clocking 150 kph (93 mph), speed rarely seen in this part of the world.

After the dismissal of Watling, Somerville hurt the Sri Lankans further going onto post his best first class score. He added 36 runs for the ninth wicket with Trent Boult (26) and a further 25 runs for the last wicket with Ajaz Patel (14).

He finished unbeaten on 40.

Sri Lanka's fielding was sloppy as four catches were put down in the second innings.

Left-arm spinner Lasith Embuldeniya was the pick of the bowlers finishing with four wickets. Dhananjaya de Silva claimed three.

Lunch was delayed as play got underway 50 minutes late due to the wet outfield because of overnight rain.

Agence France-Presse

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Pogacar said “It was extremely hot today, so for me on a climb like that in those temperatures it was a really good ride and I’m pleased.

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His compatriot Chris Froome was dropped early in the race.

The four-time Tour de France winner again struggled on his comeback from injuries sustained last May.

The 27-year-old Yates is also making his 2020 debut and looks favourite to win in a competitive field after his stunning attack from 6km out at the end of a warm day with temperatures passing 30C.

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Yates was followed up the final 10.6km Jebell Hafeet climb at a 7 per cent gradient by a trio of challengers with Slovenian prodigy Pogacar finishing 1min 03sec adrift.

Astana’s Alexey Lutsenko was third at 1min 30sec accompanied by up-and-coming Frenchman David Gaudu.

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Wednesday’s flat stage, the fourth of seven, is a 173km run to Dubai City Walk where a mass bunch sprint is expected.

Stage 3 Results

1. Adam Yates (GBR) Mitchelton-Scott 4h42’34”

2. Tadej Pogacar (SLO) UAE Team Emirates +1:03

3. Alexey Lutsenko (KAZ) Astana +1:30

General Classification Results

1. Adam Yates (GBR) Mitchelton-Scott 12h30’02”

2. Tadej Pogacar (SLO) UAE Team Emirates +1:07

3. Alexey Lutsenko (KAZ) Astana +1:35

22 hours ago