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Tillakaratne leads Lanka fightback

May 06, 2003 20:13 IST

Hashan Tillakaratne scored a gritty 93 as the second and final Test between Sri Lanka and New Zealand drifted towards a likely draw on Tuesday.

Tillakaratne steered Sri Lanka to within touching distance of New Zealand's 305 first innings total before being last man out as Sri Lanka finished on 298.

Opener Mark Richardson then scored his second fifty of the match as New Zealand ended the day on a comfortable 92 for one.

Richardson added 65 for the first wicket with Matt Horne, who scored 27 before being caught at forward short leg off Muttiah Muralitharan.

Richardson was unbeaten on 51, having hit one six and six fours, batting with captain Stephen Fleming on 10.

Tillakaratne, who started the day on 10 not out, anchored the Sri Lanka innings during two slow-scoring sessions to compile a five-and-a-half-hour 93 that included 12 fours.

The 35-year-old, a surprise appointment as Sri Lanka Test captain after the resignation of Sanath Jayasuriya, narrowly missed out on his third successive Test century.

The left-hander finished Sri Lanka's last tour to South Africa with an unbeaten 104 at Centurion and then scored a match-saving 144 in the first Test in Colombo.

Sri Lanka had made a cautious start to the day, adding 101 runs during the morning and just 72 in 28 overs during the middle session.

Appearing to have settled for a draw, the hosts changed their strategy immediately after the tea break as they looked for quick runs.

Tillakaratne stroked three quick boundaries as 31 runs were added in 6.3 overs before the left-hander chopped an off-break from Paul Wiseman on to his stumps.


Wiseman, the only spinner used after Daniel Vettori injured his left ankle in an on-field collision with Atapattu on Monday, was the most successful bowler, picking four for 104 from 32.3 overs.

The bleach-haired Jacob Oram also starred for the Kiwis, following a career best 74 with the bat on Monday with three for 54 from 20 overs with the ball.

Earlier in the day, Wiseman had grabbed two wickets as Sri Lanka lost Jayasuriya, Romesh Kaluwitharana and Kumar Dharmasena during the first session of play.

Jayasuriya, on 53 overnight, looked set for his 11th Test hundred after starting the morning with a flurry of boundaries, cutting powerfully and straight driving down the ground.

But the former Sri Lanka captain went when New Zealand skipper Stephen Fleming introduced Wiseman into the attack.

Jayasuriya was caught at slip by Fleming for 82 from 110 balls, an innings that included 14 boundaries.

The breakthrough by Wiseman, who spun the ball sharply on the crumbling pitch, ended a 57-run stand for the third wicket.

Kaluwitharana was the second casualty of the morning, top edging a catch to long leg as he tried to hook a bouncer from Shane Bond.

The wicketkeeper-batsman had scored 20 with two sizzling boundaries.

During the afternoon, all rounder Kaushal Lokuarachchi scored 20 before being caught in the deep and Chaminda Vaas chipped in with 22.

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