Napier Test heads for a draw

Agence France Presse

Napier, April 7:

Unorthodox Sri Lankan speedster Lasith Malinga struck twice to add a late dash of spice to the first Test against New Zealand as it appeared destined to end in a draw at the end of the fourth day here on Thursday.

New Zealand go into the final day at 64-2, a 127 run lead, and with Hamish Marshall already back in the pavilion.

Sri Lanka were all out in their first innings for 498 at tea — with centuries to Mahela Jayawardene and captain Marvan Atapattu — giving New Zealand a 63-run lead. But Malinga rewrote the script and showed what was still possible on the final day. He troubled the Kiwis with his pace, swing, and slinging action to trap Craig Cumming lbw for 16, and followed up two overs later with a the wicket of dangerman Marshall for six.

Marshall could consider himself unlucky on two counts as the ball appeared to be moving down leg side and moments after his dismissal the umpires called play off because of poor light. James Marshall was not out 33 while Paul Wiseman was yet to score. Sri Lanka had earlier appeared to be on target to surpass New Zealand’s total and take a psychological edge going into the second Test starting in Wellington next Monday.

Led by Jayawardene (147), and Atapattu (127), Sri Lanka’s senior batsmen had set the innings up at a healthy 463/5, before the last five wickets fell for just 35 runs as pace bowler James Franklin ripped through the tail.

The tourists sound batting performance came undone soon after lunch when Chris Martin surprised Thilan Samaraweera with extra bounce and he was caught by Stephen Fleming at first slip for 88. Upul Chandana, the last wicket to fall, added 19 and Chaminda Vaas 17, while Franklin had Rangana Herath and Nuwan Kulasekara both for a duck and Malinga was not out for no score. Franklin ended with 4-126 and Martin 4-132.