Vettori's day as Sri Lanka make solid start

COLOMBO: New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori became only the eighth player in history to achieve the double of 3,000 runs and 300 wickets as Sri Lanka made a steady start in the second Test on Wednesday.

The left-arm spinner, who has scored 3,329 runs, claimed his 300th wicket when he dismissed his Sri Lankan counterpart Kumar Sangakkara in the afternoon session of the first day's play.

Vettori, 30, joins a select band of all-rounders including Kapil Dev (India), Ian Botham (England), Richard Hadlee (New Zealand), Imran Khan (Pakistan), Shane Warne (Australia), Shaun Pollock (South Africa) and Chaminda Vaas (Sri Lanka).

He is already the most successful left-arm spinner in history, having surpassed Englishman Derek Underwood's tally of 297 wickets in the first Test in Galle last week.

"I still see myself as a bowler rather than an all-rounder," said Vettori, playing his 94th Test. "As a spin bowler, I did not think a feat like this will happen, so it's a very special feeling."

Vettori said the wicket at the Sinhalese Sports Club was "extremely flat," but gave credit to Sri Lanka's batsmen for putting up a reasonable total.

Sangakkara, former captain Mahela Jayawardene and Thilan Samaraweera scored half-centuries as Sri Lanka went to stumps at 262-3 on a firm wicket that Vettori said "looked like a road" at the toss.

Jayawardene was unbeaten on 79 and Samaraweera was on 78, having shared a fourth-wicket stand of 147 after tight bowling by the Black Caps had kept the Sri Lankans on a tight leash.

When play began 30 minutes late due to a wet outfield, Sri Lanka plodded to 146-3 by tea before Jayawardene and Samaraweera caned the second new ball in the final session.

"We were ideally looking at five wickets, but Mahela and Thilan are seasoned players and are at the top of their game," Vettori said. "I hope our batsmen will take a leaf out of their book and put up a big score too."

Vettori, who began the match with 298 wickets, had left-handed opener Tharanga Paranavitana (19) edging his second delivery to Ross Taylor in the slips.

Sri Lanka suffered a crucial blow in the third over after lunch when Tillakaratne Dilshan, who hit 92 and 123 not out in the first Test, was dismissed for a unusually lacklustre 29.

Seamer Iain O'Brien, who had dropped a return catch off the previous delivery, made no mistake a second time as Dilshan mis-timed a drive and looped the ball back to the bowler.

Sangakkara and Jayawardene had put on 40 for the third wicket when Vettori was rewarded a second time during an unchanged 17-over spell to reach the milestone.

Sangakkara, who made 50, pulled a short ball to mid-wicket where Jacob Oram took the catch and ran to his team-mates to join in the celebrations for their captain.

Sri Lankan coach Trevor Bayliss said he was delighted at the total so far.

"When we lost three early wickets, I thought 300 was possible, but now it looks like 400," he said. "Mahela and Thilan really did the job for us."

Sri Lanka made three changes from the team that won the first Test in Galle by 202 runs, leaving out all-rounder Angelo Mathews, spinner Ajantha Mendis and seamer Nuwan Kulasekara.

They were replaced by batsman Chamara Kapugedera, seamer Dammika Prasad and left-arm spinner Rangana Herath.

The Kiwis kept the same team that lost in Galle.