Mathews’ ton helps SL set record run-chase for Kiwis


Continuing their World Test Championship final push, Sri Lanka have left New Zealand needing a record run chase in Christchurch, thanks in large part to a partnership between centurion Angelo Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal.
Putting on 105 throughout the middle of day four, Mathews (115) and Chandimal helped the tourists to a second-innings total of 302, setting New Zealand a target of 285 runs to chase. Blair Tickner (4/100) and Matt Henry (3/71) were the pick of the bowlers for Kiwis. Tim Southee also got two wickets for 57 runs in 26.3 overs.
At 28/1 at the close of play, New Zealand, if they make the required runs, would complete the highest successful run chase in Test cricket at Hagley Oval, beating Australia’s 201/3 in February 2016.
Despite a nervous half-hour in the early nineties, Mathews moved to his 14th Test century with boundaries off back-to-back deliveries, swatting Blair Tickner through mid-wicket before booming a shot through covers off the back foot.
He spent much of the day with Dinesh Chandimal (42) who joined him in Sri Lanka’s 5000-run club in Tests, doing so at an average of over 43, a better figure than six of other 10 to reach the mark.
Chandimal will be in touching distance of Arjuna Ranatunga’s 5105 in the tenth when he takes the field in the second Test in Wellington on Friday, and would be one of three active Sri Lankan players in the top ten, with opener Dimuth Karunaratne (6090) also a vital cog in the line-up.
Sri Lanka began day four building a target-setting platform, adding 67 runs and only losing night-watchman Prabath Jayasuriya (6) in the morning session.
Mathews and Chandimal worked into their partnership, facing 218 balls between them, before the latter was bowled by a Tim Southee beauty after taking the new ball.
It brought Dhananjaya de Silva to the crease, whose smart acceleration moved Sri Lanka’s lead past 250 in the evening session. His 47* included vital runs with the tail to move the team past 300, before Kasun Rajitha’s wicket of Devon Conway (5) in the fifth over of New Zealand’s reply meant the tourists made evening inroads with the ball.
Brief Scores: NZ: 373 and 28/1 (Latham 11*, Williamson 7*, Rajitha 1/5) vs Sri Lanka: 355 and 302 (Mathews 115, de Silva 47*, Tickner 4/100)