Colombo: New Zealand beat Sri Lanka by 167 runs on the last day Thursday of the second Test at the P. Sara Oval to end a nine-Test winless run since January.
The drought included five straight Test defeats, including the first Test in Galle last week, a humiliating 10-wicket loss in three days. New Zealand bowled out Sri Lanka for 195 in their second innings, with the second new ball doing the trick within five overs after tea. Angelo Mathews was last out, for a dogged 84 off 228 balls over five hours. He was the only batsman to score more than 30.
Sri Lanka started the day at 47 for 4, 316 runs away from an unlikely victory, and toiled in seeking a draw to win the series 1-0. But the equally desperate New Zealanders kept chipping away with wickets; one in the morning, two after lunch, and the last three in a sudden rush at the end to win a Test in Sri Lanka for the first time since 1998. By coincidence, that win in Colombo was also by 167 runs.
Seamers Tim Southee and Trent Boult shared three wickets apiece, but it was Doug Bracewell, who picked up the key wickets of Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene on day four, who set up the end for New Zealand. Mathews fought a lone battle, running out of partners. His second half century of the series included 11 fours and a six.
The overnight pair of Mathews and Thilan Samaraweera had to bat long if Sri Lanka were to have any chance of winning the series, but Samaraweera was run out for 7, a victim of his own risky error. That left Mathews with a massive task.
Mathews added 56 runs for the sixth wicket with wicketkeeper Prasanna Jayawardene, in a stand that lasted for over two hours, but Jayawardene was dismissed for 29 after lunch giving New Zealand the much needed breakthrough. Legspinner Todd Astle picked up his first Test wicket, beating Jayawardene for turn.
New Zealand also dismissed Suraj Randiv for an 11-ball duck in the afternoon session and patiently waited for the new ball to arrive. There was not much of a resistance by the Sri Lanka tail after the new ball was received in the over before tea, which was taken at 168 for 7.
Three balls into the last session, Nuwan Kulasekara was brilliantly caught one-handed in gully by Kane Williamson off Boult for 18. Shaminda Eranga came in and lasted only four balls, out for a duck to Southee off another fine one-handed catch by Williamson.
Mathews hit five more boundaries, four in an over off Southee, before he edged Boult to Martin Guptill at second slip to end the match. New Zealand captain Ross Taylor was named Man of the Match, while Sri Lanka spinner Rangana Herath, who finished with 20 wickets in the series, was named Man of the Series.