Sun, 16 Jun 2019

Tom Latham's double-hundred flattens Sri Lanka

17 Dec 2018, 13:42 GMT+10

3:00 AM ET

Tea New Zealand 509 for 6 (Latham 215*, Southee 3*, Kumara 3-122) lead Sri Lanka 282 by 227 runs

In six Tests at the Basin Reserve, Sri Lanka have been at the receiving end of four double-hundreds from New Zealand's batsmen. Martin Crowe, Lou Vincent and Kane Williamson had done it before, and on Monday it was Tom Latham's turn. By tea on day three, Latham's efforts had set New Zealand on course to push for an innings win, their lead now an imposing 227 with four wickets in hand.

With seven sessions left in the match, Sri Lanka might need a helping hand from the weather if they are to escape defeat. They will be encouraged by the forecast of rain on day five, but there will be day four to get through first, and quite likely a chunk of today's final session too.

At tea New Zealand were 509 for 6, with Latham batting on 215.

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The middle session saw all the familiar elements of a dominant batting line-up building a big lead against a tired attack in benign conditions. Against well-spread fields, Latham, the set batsman approaching a major landmark, chugged along at a strike rate of 55.95 despite only hitting two boundaries in the session. Two batsmen at the other end were caught on the boundary going for big hits. The first, Henry Nicholls, was looking to accelerate after bringing up his fifty, and the other, Colin de Grandhomme, had already hit three sixes in a near-run-a-ball 49.

In between, there was one moment of joy for the unflagging and often unlucky Lahiru Kumara, BJ Watling popping a catch to the keeper while ducking awkwardly, eyes off the ball, against a sharp bouncer. The Watling-Latham stand didn't add any runs to New Zealand's score; it was the first sub-50 partnership of the innings.

Sri Lanka could have had another wicket soon after, but Dimuth Karunaratne didn't react quickly enough at gully as an edged drive from de Grandhomme off Dilruwan Perera's offspin flashed past his left hand. De Grandhomme would go on to add 73, at close to five an over, with Latham.

More to follow...

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