Short, but not quite: Jayawardene’s missed ton helps Sri Lanka nose ahead

After two days and 21 wickets fell, Sri Lanka and New Zealand were almost inseparable at Galle. Captain Mahela Jayawardene fell nine runs short of a century as Sri Lanka was bowled out for 247 and a first-innings lead of 26 over New Zealand on the second day of the first Test. Spin bowler Rangana Herath struck early in New Zealand's second innings, dismissing Brendon McCullum for 13. The visitors closed the day at 35 for one with a nine-run second-innings lead — the match evenly poised.

Herath who picked up a five-wicket haul in the first innings was struck for a six by McCullum in his first over. McCullum tried another pull shot on the next delivery and Nuwan Kulasekara took a good running catch. At stumps, opener Martin Guptill (13 not out) was batting with Kane Williamson (9).

Jayawardene and Angelo Mathews shared 156 runs for the sixth wicket after Sri Lanka collapsed to 50 for five in the morning facing some aggressive seam bowling by Tim Southee. The hosts also lost their last five wickets for just 41 runs.

Jayawardene's 91 runs included a six and 11 boundaries off 176 deliveries. He spent more than four hours at the crease. His partnership with Mathews took 48 overs, making the Kiwis toil hard without success in the second session with the ball worn out and the pitch no longer helping swing bowling.

However, James Franklin eventually had Mathews caught behind by Kruger van Wyk to give the visitors a much needed breakthrough. Jayawardene then tried to sweep off spin bowler Jeetan Patel and was caught by van Wyk. Southee returned best bowling figures for New Zealand with four for 46, three of those wickets in the morning session. It left the hosts fighting to avoid a rout.

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