Sri Lanka 1st innings 244 and 2nd innings 4-47 (Kumar Sangakkara 16, Tillakaratne Dilshan 14, Doug Bracewell 2-5) trail New Zealand 1st innings 412 and 2nd innings 9-194 declared (Ross Taylor 74, Brendon McCullum 35, Rangana Herath 3-67) by 316 runs.
The bowlers from both sides ruled the day by grabbing 18 wickets during the 4th day’s play as New Zealand was marching towards a grand win to square the series.
New Zealand powered 412 runs in the first innings and declared their second innings at 9-194 runs and they set a big target of 363 runs for the hosts to win the game. The first innings of Sri Lanka was folded back for 244 runs and they were struggling at 47 runs for the loss of 4 wickets in their second innings.
The fourth day’s play came to an end on Wednesday, November 28, 2012, at P Sara Oval, Colombo.
Earlier, the Islanders started the day at 6-225 runs scored off 86.2 overs, Thilan Samaraweera and Suraj Randiv were unbeaten on 76 and 34 runs respectively. The Black Caps bowlers initiated with a hostile spell and the batsmen were unable to add any run as Samaraweera became the first victim at his overnight score of 76 runs. Randiv was declared leg before wicket off Trent Boult for 39 as the total reached 232 runs. The late order batsmen were unable to defy the dangerous bowling of the kiwis and the entire Sri Lankan team was bowled out for 244 runs in 94 overs after conceding a first innings lead of 168 runs.
The pace bowlers of the Black Caps bowled excellently and clinched nine wickets. Tim Southee grasped five, Trent Boult chipped in with four and Jeetan Patel got one wicket.
New Zealand opened their second innings with Martin Guptill and Brendon McCullum nicely as the latter was the most attacking of the two. McCullum hit 4 fours in the first seven overs and reached 20 as Guptill was playing a defensive role, he scored 11 off 27 balls and took the total to 32 runs. Guptill was caught by Tillakaratne Dilshan at gully off Shaminda Eranga for 11 as Kane Williamson came in the centre. McCullum carried on with his aggressive style but lost his wicket for 35 off 43 balls with 7 fours when the New Zealand skipper Ross Taylor appeared in the park.
The rival bowlers took over as Taylor witnessed the down fall of three top order batsmen and the visitors were reeling at 5-75 in 20.2 overs. Todd Astle got together with Taylor and they tried to mend the early loss with a lot of concentration. The duo kept the score board moving and did not play any rash shot as Ross Taylor achieved his 17th Test fifty on the fourth ball of the 47th over with a four. Astle played a determined knock of 35 off 100 deliveries with 3 fours and added 97 valuable runs with Taylor when the first lost his wicket at 172 runs.
Taylor was unluckily run out for 74 off 95 balls with just 2 fours and preferred to try for a win by declaring the second innings after losing 9 wickets for 194 runs in 54 overs while gaining an overall lead of 362 runs.
Rangana Herath was once again top wicket taker with three whereas Nuwan Kulasekara and Suraj Randiv shared two each and Shaminda Eranga claimed one wicket.
Sri Lanka faced an early shock when Tharanga Pranavitana was held lbw off Tim Southee on the very first ball of the second innings. The experienced pair of Tillakaratne Dilshan and Kumar Sangakkara got together and enhanced the score to 35 in seven overs. Dilshan became the second victim of Southee when he was caught behind by the wicketkeeper Kruger van Wyk for 14 runs.
The Islander batsmen were unable to cope with the deadly pace attack of the Black Caps as Doug Bracewell pierced the top order batting. Bracewell got rid of Kumar Sangakkara and the rival captain Mahela Jayawardene in the dying moments of the game. Sri Lanka was in dire trouble after losing four competent batsmen for 47 mere runs in 15.4 overs at the close of the fourth day’s play.
Tim Southee and Doug Bracewell penetrated through the strong batting line up of the Lankan Lions by registering two wickets each.
New Zealand is in a strong position and anticipates winning the second Test as Sri Lanka still requires 316 runs to save the match with six wickets remaining.