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August 30, 2009

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Sri Lanka on brink of test sweep

NEW Zealand faced an uphill struggle to avert a 2-0 series defeat as it closed on 182 for six, having been set a 494-run victory target by Sri Lanka on the fourth day of the second test in Colombo yesterday.
The tourists were soon in trouble after Sri Lanka declared on 311 for five, losing both their openers Tim McIntosh (seven) and Martin Guptill (28) before tea.
McIntosh was clean bowled by pace bowler Dammika Prasad and Guptill was caught behind off left-arm spinner Rangana Herath's first ball of the innings.
Their problems deepened with Daniel Flynn (50), Ross Taylor (27), Brendon McCullum (13) and Jess Ryder (38) all being dismissed before the close.
Herath was the chief wicket-taker for Sri Lanka, following his three-wicket haul in the first innings, with four for 73 from 21 overs.
In the final session, Herath had Taylor caught at slip, Flynn was trapped leg before wicket and Ryder was also adjudged lbw while sweeping, a decision that looked dubious after replays.
Spinner Muttiah Muralitharan took just one wicket, bowling the out-of-form McCullum for 13.
All rounder Jacob Oram was unbeaten on seven at stumps with captain Daniel Vettori on five, New Zealand still needing another 312 runs.
Earlier, Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara led from the front with a stylish 109, his 20th test century, in a 175-ball knock that included 12 boundaries and one six.
Mahela Jayawardene (96) gave solid support during an authoritative 173-run partnership that quashed any remote hopes of New Zealand fighting its way back into the contest.
Off spinner Jeetan Patel was the only wicket-taker of the morning, as Sangakkara edged to Taylor at slip while attempting a lofted drive.
Patel claimed 2-122 from 34 overs. Vettori took 2-62 from 24 overs.


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