NZ v SL, 1st Test: Mendis, Karunaratne fifties help Sri Lanka reach 305/6 on Day 1

Christchurch (New Zealand), Mar 9 (IANS): Seasoned batter Kusal Mendis (87) and skipper Dimuth Karunaratne (50) struck half-centuries and shared a 137-run partnership for the second wicket as Sri Lanka reached 305/6 against New Zealand on a weather-curtailed opening day of the first Test here on Thursday.

Mendis and Karunaratne came together after Sri Lanka lost Dshada Fernando (13) with the team's score of 14 runs, in the seventh over at the Hagley Oval here.

Sri Lanka batted smartly, leaving deliveries bowled well outside the off stump, and capitalising from poor balls - which they were too many of in the opening session.

It was all too comfortable for Sri Lanka after being sent in, hitting 21 boundaries in the first session alone - 15 which came from Mendis' bat.

Mendis struck 16 boundaries during his 83-ball 87 while Karunaratne faced 87 deliveries for his 50, hitting seven boundaries.

At stumps, Dhananjaya de Silva was batting on 39 while Kasun Rajitha was keeping him company with 16 runs as Sri Lanka went past 300 runs on the first day.

Skipper Tim Southee was New Zealand's most successful bowler of the day with 3-44 while Matt Henry claimed 2/65.

Earlier in the morning, Mendis was given out lbw on zero by umpire Chris Gaffaney off Southee's bowling, but captain Karunaratne at the other end, wisely reviewed. The decision was overturned with the ball judged to be missing the stumps.

New Zealand would have been disappointed with their day one bowling effort -- especially in the last hour before lunch, where the boundaries flowed with regularity.

Mendis and Karunaratne were pretty tough on Neil Wagner, who was punished and smacked for 30 runs from his first three overs. Blair Tickner, who returned to the playing XI after debuting in the first Test against England, also suffered plenty of punishment.

Mendis was the first to go, trapped lbw by New Zealand skipper Tim Southee as he offered no shot to a delivery that nipped back off a length and hit the batter on the back thigh. Sri Lanka were 151/2 in the 33rd over.

Karunaratne also left on the same score in the next over itself as he was caught at first slip, trying to hit a wide and full delivery, which drew him into an expansive drive.

However, Sri Lanka did not lose their way from there as Angelo Mathews contributed 47 (98 balls, 6x4, 1x6) while Dinesh Chandimal scored 39 (64, 6x4) as the visitors scored at a good pace before bad light stopped play with 75 overs of the day's quota bowled.

Brief scores:

Sri Lanka 305/6 in 75 overs (Kusal Mendis 87, Dimuth Karunaratne 50, Angelo Mathews 47, Dinesh Chandimal 39, Dhananjaya de Silva 39no; Tim Southee 3-44) v New Zealand.



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Title: NZ v SL, 1st Test: Mendis, Karunaratne fifties help Sri Lanka reach 305/6 on Day 1

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