December 19, 2018 / 6:09 PM / 5 months ago

Cricket: Second test likely to be more bowler friendly - Williamson

WELLINGTON (Reuters) - More bowler-friendly conditions will likely greet New Zealand and Sri Lanka at Hagley Oval in Christchurch for the second test, home captain has Kane Williamson said.

FILE PHOTO: Cricket - New Zealand Nets - Hagley Oval, Christchurch, New Zealand - March 29, 2018 - New Zealand's Captain Kane Williamson talks to the media during the press conference. REUTERS/Paul Childs/Files

The first test ended in a damp draw on Wednesday after rain restricted all but an hour of play on the fifth and final day, with Kusal Mendis and Angelo Mathews unbeaten at the end having saved their side by batting the entire fourth day.

The hosts had the best of the bowling conditions on the first day when they reduced the visitors to nine for three, before Mathews, Dimuth Karunaratne and Niroshan Dickwella rescued their first innings.

The pitch then dried out, flattened without breaking up and provided little sideways movement as New Zealand scored 578 before the visitors ended their second innings on 287 for three with Mendis on 142 and Mathews 120 not out.

“I think we’ll expect a bit more bounce and pace in Christchurch,” Williamson said as he looked ahead to the second game starting on Dec. 26.

“We know that the wicket there offers to seam bowlers and generally hold its pace for a long period of time.”

Sri Lanka captain Dinesh Chandimal, while pleased with the result on Wednesday, said his side’s top order would need to get used to the green pitches in New Zealand quickly, especially if the conditions were to be tougher in Christchurch.

The New Zealand bowlers took three early wickets in both innings in Wellington, with Sri Lanka opener Danushka Gunathilaka scoring one and three, while Dananjaya de Silva contributed one and then made a five-ball duck.

Dimuth Karunaratne scored 79 in the first innings, but fell for 10 in the second, while Mendis scored just two in the first innings.

“We have to make a good start,” Chandimal said. “When we were batting we lost three early wickets in both innings.

“So that’s an area we’ll have to improve.”

Chandimal said it was too early to determine if they might shake up the top order in Christchurch but he expected the rest of the team to get a lift from the performance of Mendis and Mathews in Wellington.

“We are really happy as a team,” he said.

“We’ve especially shown a lot of character. They fought hard.

“We’ve got a lot of youngsters in our side, so I’m sure they will learn and execute their plans going forward.”

Editing by Peter Rutherford

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