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August 28, 2009

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Samaraweera ton bolsters Sri Lanka

NEW Zealand struggled to 159 for five on the second day of the second and final test in Colombo yesterday, trailing Sri Lanka by 257 runs after Thilan Samaraweera's century had put the hosts in command.

Ross Taylor was providing lone resistance for the Kiwis at the close, having compiled 70 not out from 118 balls. Wicketkeeper Brendon McCullum was also unbeaten on five.

Left-armer Thilan Thushara continued his fine form by taking two for 37 for Sri Lanka.

Earlier, Samaraweera thumped 143 as Sri Lanka totaled 416 in its first innings despite losing its last five wickets for 27 runs.

Samaraweera shared a 180-run partnership for the fourth wicket with Mahela Jayawardene (92).

The centurion faced 240 balls and hit 17 boundaries and a six for his 11th test hundred - and his second of the series - and became the second batsman to score more than 1,000 test runs this year, along with England's Andrew Strauss.

But Samaraweera outperformed Strauss by scoring the runs in seven less innings, and at an average of more than 95.

This year was eventful for Samaraweera, who scored back-to-back double hundreds in Pakistan before sustaining a bullet wound in the thigh in a terrorist attack on the team's bus in March.

"I am really happy about the year and getting 1,000 runs," Samaraweera said. "I thought after the Lahore incident that I can never play cricket."

Rare double

New Zealand fought back in the afternoon session, off-spinner Jeetan Patel recovering from an expensive start to finish with four for 78. Skipper Daniel Vettori, who on Wednesday reached a rare double by taking his 300th test wicket to add to 3,000 test runs, finished with 3-104.

Sri Lanka, 1-0 up in the series, had started the day on 262 for three.

Jayawardene scored 92 in 234 balls before being caught behind off seamer Iain O'Brien.

Chamara Kapugedera, replacing injured all-rounder Angelo Mathews, then stroked 35 before lofting a catch off Patel.

After lunch wicketkeeper Prasanna Jayawardene (17) top-edged a hook and Samaraweera was quickly running out of partners when he was finally caught behind off Patel.

When New Zealand went in to bat, captain Kumar Sangakkara briefly experimented with Tillakaratne Dilshan opening the bowling with his off breaks.

However, Sangakkara quickly reverted to the pace of Dammika Prasad, who trapped Tim McIntosh leg before wicket for five. Thushara then had Daniel Flynn caught behind for 13, Prasanna Jayawardene taking a good diving catch.

Martin Guptill (35) top-edged a pull to deep backward square before Jesse Ryder (23) helped steady the innings with Taylor, adding 85 for the fourth wicket.

Ryder, though, was snapped up bat-pad off Rangana Herath and Muttiah Muralitharan removed nightwatchman Patel for one.


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