Sri Lanka vs New Zealand 1st Test: Captain-cool Dimuth Karunaratne leads Sri Lanka to record win

Galle: Captain Dimuth Karunaratne scored 122 as Sri Lanka chased down 268 for the loss of just four wickets to win the first Test against New Zealand at Galle on Sunday and take a 1-0 lead in the two-match series. Karunaratne posted his ninth Test hundred along with enjoying a record-equalling opening partnership of 161 with Lahiru Thirimanne, who made 64, as Sri Lanka collected their first points of the World Test Championship. Former captain Angelo Mathews chipped in with an unbeaten 28 as Sri Lanka finished off the game before lunch after the morning session was extended because only 22 runs were needed at the scheduled time for the interval.

Karunaratne enjoyed some luck on the way to his century, dropped on 58 at forward short leg by Tom Latham while wicketkeeper BJ Watling missed a stumping chance on the same score. He batted for over five hours, facing 245 deliveries, and hit six fours and a six. Karunaratne and Thirimanne's stand equalled the record for the highest opening partnership in Tests between the two countries. In 1991, John Wright and Trevor Franklin had also put on 161 for the first wicket in Hamilton.

The opening stand was pivotal in Sri Lanka achieving the highest successful run chase in Galle, easily surpassing the previous best of 99. Resuming play on 133 for no loss, Sri Lanka required 135 from the remaining three sessions.

New Zealand finally got their breakthrough when Thirimanne was trapped leg before by William Somerville. Given not out by umpire Richard Illingworth, New Zealand overturned the decision on review. Kusal Mendis soon fell after taking on Somerville, hitting him for a four and a six from the second and fourth balls he faced.

But when he attempted to slog sweep Ajaz Patel in the next over he ended up hitting straight to midwicket where Jeet Raval completed the catch. Angelo Mathews joined Karunaratne and the pair put on 44 runs for the third wicket to steady the ship.

Sri Lanka lost Kusal Perera after Karunaratne's dismissal but Dhananjaya de Silva (14) joined Mathews and helped Sri Lanka knock off the remaining runs with two sessions to spare. Mathews brought up the winning runs with a single to fine leg off Boult. The second and final Test begins in Colombo on Thursday.

A fantastic hundred

London: New Zealand captain Kane Williamson praised Sri Lanka skipper Dimuth Karunaratne's brilliant match-winning ton saying that it was a 'fantastic hundred'. "I think in a last-innings chase, a lot of credit goes to the way Sri Lanka batted.

It was a fantastic hundred by Dimuth," Williamson said. Karunaratne played a knock of 122 runs which helped his side chase a target of 268 runs and consequently, Sri Lanka secured a six-wicket victory in the first Test match. Williamson also said that they thought the wicket would deteriorate more than it did.

"We thought the wicket would deteriorate more than it did. It perhaps got slower. It wasn't turning a huge amount out of the rough. It didn't get more difficult to bat on. I think there was a little bit more bounce and the turn was a little bit quicker in the first innings," Williamson said.

"Though, saying that, it was a good batting surface as well. I thought our bowlers operated patiently for a long period of time. We probably even bowled better in the second innings, but without the edges going to hand, and those sorts of things, which is the nature of the game we play," he added.

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