Sri Lanka take command

COLOMBO: New Zealand’s batting was left in tatters in the second Test today as Thilan Samaraweera scored a second successive century to surpass 1,000 Test runs this year.

The tourists, replying to Sri Lanka’s first innings score of 416, saw their entire top order wiped out as they struggled to 159-5 by stumps on the second day. Ross Taylor was unbeaten on 70 and Brendon McCullum on five with the tourists still needing 58 more runs to avoid the follow-on.

Samaraweera, who made 159 in the first Test at Galle, hit 143 on way to becoming the second batsman after England’s Andrew Strauss to complete 1,000 runs this year. The right-hander has so far scored 1,058 runs in eight Tests in 2009 with two double centuries among his four three-figure knocks. Strauss, in comparison, has 1,071 runs from 12 matches.

Samaraweera endured an extraordinary year in which he hit two successive double-centuries against Pakistan before being laid low by gunshots during a militant attack. He was hospitalised for two weeks after he suffered a bullet injury in the left thigh when gunmen opened fire on the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore on March 3.

New Zealand were reduced to 49-2 when Tim McIntosh (five) was given out leg-before to fast bowler Dammika Prasad and Daniel Flynn (13) was caught behind off left-arm seamer Thilan Thushara. Martin Guptill made a solid 35 when he hooked Thushara to deep square-leg where Muralitharan took an easy catch to make it 63-3.

Jesse Ryder helped Taylor put on 85 for the fourth wicket, before two quick wickets left the Kiwis reeling. Ryder (23) was trapped LBW off Rangana Herath and Jeetan Patel lobbed a catch to slips off Muralitharan.

Earlier, Samaraweera proved the main stumbling block for New Zealand after Sri Lanka resumed at their overnight score of 262-3. Sri Lanka, who were comfortably placed at 367-4 before lunch, lost their last six wickets for 49 runs in a dramatic collapse in the afternoon session.

Patel finished with 4-78 while Daniel Vettori claimed 3-104. Mahela Jayawardene (92) missed a second successive ton against the Kiwis when he edged a ball from O’Brien to McCullum.