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NZ leads Sri Lanka by 305 at stumps on day 2, 2nd test

December 27, 2018
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New Zealand's Trent Boult bowls during play on day two of the second cricket test between New Zealand and Sri Lanka at Hagley Oval in Christchurch, New Zealand, Thursday, Dec. 27, 2018. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand’s batsmen capitalized on a record-breaking bowling spell by Trent Boult Wednesday to wrest full control of the second cricket test from Sri Lanka at the end of the second day.

Jeet Raval (74) and Tom Latham (74 not out) completed half centuries and Kane Williamson made 48 as New Zealand finished the day at 231-2, with an overall lead of 305.

New Zealand was able to build on a wholly unexpected 74-run first innings lead, achieved when Boult took six wickets for four runs in the space of 15 balls to send Sri Lanka tumbling from 96-4 to 104 all out.

His first five wickets came faster than any other bowler in test history; from 11 balls, beating Jacques Kallis’s record of 12 balls against Bangladesh in 2002.

Sri Lanka had looked in a strong position when it resumed at 88-4 in reply to New Zealand’s first innings of 178 but Boult’s test-best return of 6-30 turned the match on its head.

The left-armer, who has 224 wickets in 58 tests, began the day with 0-20 in Sri Lanka’s first innings after struggling for form in the first test at Wellington where he took 2-145. He also managed only seven wickets for 262 runs in three tests against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates.

Suddenly the dry spell of wickets turned into a flood and Boult went from 0-26 to 6-30, narrowly missing a hat trick when he took three wickets with four balls.

Boult admitted he felt some frustration when the wickets weren’t coming, though he felt he was bowling well.

“I think a little bit can creep if you let it,” he told Sky Sports. “It’s been a tough time.

“In the UAE it’s tough conditions for a seam bowler and you come here and you almost expect it to happen. We know what works well here and we kept it in good areas.”

Boult’s first two wickets were caught by his new ball partner Tim Southee in the slips and his next four fell lbw, three within the space of four balls. England umpire Michael Gough gave five decisions in a row in Boult’s favor.

His first victim was the overnight batsman Roshen Silva who fell for 21 in the fifth over of the morning, caught by Southee at third slip after driving at a ball which swung late.

Wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella fell next to a brilliant catch by Southee, at full stretch, from a ball which also enticed the drive but left him late.

The next four wickets fell at an even more frantic pace and to similar lbw decisions.

Dilruwan Perera shouldered arms at a ball from Boult which was full and swung back onto middle stump.

Suranga Lakmal received a similar delivery from the very next ball and was hit on the toe in front of middle.

Boult had to wait until the next over to chase his hat trick, bowling to the tailender Dushmantha Chameera. Chameera met the hat trick ball with a solid forward defensive shot but was out lbw to the next ball, giving Boult three wickets in four balls and his seventh five-wicket bag in tests.

Lahiru Kumara was his final victim four balls later, also out lbw without offering a shot.

Angelo Mathews, almost immoveable in the first test where he scored 83 and 121 not out, was left unbeaten on 33.

New Zealand’s batsmen prospered in increasingly benign conditions. Raval reached his seventh test half century from 122 balls and Latham followed him from 155 balls. The pair put on 100 for the first wicket from 228 deliveries.

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