A counter-attacking 86 from middle-order stalwart Ross Taylor kept New Zealand in the hunt on Day One of their opening Test against Sri Lanka at Galle.
On a day which ended prematurely due to persistent showers, Akila Dananjaya’s five-wicket haul helped Sri Lanka restrict the Kiwis to 203-5.
The day started promisingly for the visitors after skipper Kane Williamson elected to bat first with openers Jeet Raval and Tom Latham adding 64 runs for the first wicket.
The hosts came roaring back towards the end of the first session with Dananjaya’s off-spin fetching three quick wickets before lunch.
The Sri Lanka off-spinner first removed Latham by drawing an edge toward the slips before dismissing Williamson for a duck in the very same over. The New Zealand skipper could only tap a simple return catch to his Sri Lanka counterpart Dimuth Karunaratne at short mid-wicket after the ball gripped in the surface.
The Kiwis were suddenly reduced to 71-3 at the stroke of lunch after Dananjaya had Raval caught-behind before Taylor and Henry Nicholls rescued the situation for the visitors.
The duo added exactly 100 runs for the fourth wicket before Nicholls fell at the stroke of tea. The left-hander was dismissed for 42 by the off-spinner after failing to make contact with his attempted sweep.
Dananjaya gave Sri Lanka more reasons to smile before tea by trapping BJ Watling plumb on the pads for just one run. Taylor continued to fight for New Zealand at the other end with some gutsy strokes and the right-hander was inching towards a 19th Test ton before rain brought an early halt to proceedings at Galle.
First Test Day One Scorecard
New Zealand: 203-5 (68 overs)
Ross Taylor: 86 not out
Akila Dananjaya: 5-57
Rishabh Pant has vowed to continue playing his natural attacking game with the bat despite coming under criticism for some of his shot selection.
The young India wicketkeeper batsman is being groomed by the selectors as the long-term successor to MS Dhoni and has been handed the gloves for all three formats in the team’s ongoing tour of West Indies.
However, Pant has failed to really seize his chance in the Caribbean with the left-hander disappointing with the bat in the limited-overs clashes so far bar one unbeaten knock of 65 in the third and final T20.
The youngster has aggregated just 24 runs in his three other innings on the tour with his manner of dismissals leaving plenty to be desired. Despite his inconsistency, Pant remains unperturbed and is confident that the big knock will arrive soon.
“As an individual, I would like to have a big score at my back but I am not focusing on that every time I go in,” he said on the eve of the final ODI against West Indies at the Port of Spain.
“I just want to play normal, positive cricket. Hopefully I can help my team to win matches. Every match is crucial for me.”
The 21-year-old has already cemented a place in the Test outfit after becoming the first Indian wicketkeeper batsman to register tons in both Australia and England. However, he has failed to translate that success to the limited-overs formats and averages 25.44 with the bat in ODIs after making 11 appearances.
Pant will be in action on Wednesday when West Indies and India lock horns in the third ODI. The visitors lead the three-match series 1-0 after their 59-run win in the second ODI while the first match was washed out due to rain.
Former England captain Andrew Strauss is preparing for an emotional day at Lord’s on Thursday, as the ground turns red in honour of his late wife Ruth and the charity that bears her name.
Day two of the second Ashes Test has been given over to the Ruth Strauss Foundation, which was set up following her death from a rare form of lung cancer in December.
Players, pundits and the paying public have been encouraged to wear something red to show their support, while there will also be a range of fundraising initiatives including the chance to bid for the limited edition caps and shirts being worn by the England and Australia teams.
World Cup-winning captain Eoin Morgan has also put the shirt he wore in the final into the auction and £1 from every programme sale will be added to the contributions collected at the stadium and online at ruthstraussfoundation.com.
“I’m excited about it, there’s a lot of anticipation about what we’ve got in store and what we might be able to get out of it and how we might be able to change people’s lives as a result,” said Strauss.
One month ago today I lifted the CWC wearing this shirt. It has been signed by every player and is currently being auctioned with all of the proceeds going to the @RuthStraussFdn Please bid generously to support a great cause.. 👉🏻👉🏻 https://t.co/AzxRDVkcml pic.twitter.com/2Wztd8ZfB6— Eoin Morgan (@Eoin16) August 14, 2019
“On a personal level it’s going to be an emotional day for me and the kids but it’s great to be here and sample it and get a feeling of how much support there is for the foundation and people who want to pay testament to Ruth.
“What has amazed me throughout the whole process is how willing the MCC, the ECB and the whole cricket family has been to make it happen. Protocol has been chucked to one side, precedent’s gone out the window, they have said ‘crack on and do it’.
“I’m incredibly grateful and hopefully it will be a really special day in terms of awareness for the foundation, testament to Ruth: it will be an emotional day but also a celebration of Ruth’s life. We hope that can help others who are going through something similar.
“Everything we get we’ll be grateful for and we’ll try to make that go as far as possible. We’re conscious that for every pound raised as much of it as possible goes to the causes.”
The initiative was partially inspired by the annual ‘pink Test’ in Sydney, where day three at the SCG turns pink for the McGrath Foundation, set up by Australian great Glenn McGrath following his wife Jane’s death from breast cancer.
Strauss played in a pink Test on the Ashes tour of 2010-11 and has not ruled out a collaboration in the future.
“I sat down and did a piece with him last week, I really enjoyed speaking to him about his experiences and we’ll keep in contact. I’m sure there’s things we can do together in the future,” he said.
“We would love it to be more than a one-off event, but let’s suck it and see and we will make a decision from there. I am very confident it will be a great day. Hopefully we can do it again.”
Provided by Press Association Sports