The first Test between New Zealand and Sri Lanka was tense at stumps on Day 4 on Sunday in Christchurch (March 12). The hosts were 28 for 1 in pursuit of 285 after Angelo Mathews’ stunning tonne propelled the Lankans to set a difficult target.
On Monday (March 13), New Zealand ended Sri Lanka’s hopes of qualifying for the ICC World Test Championship (WTC) final with a 121* from former captain Kane Williamson and a blitz (81 off 86 balls) from Darly Mitchell.
The Islanders had to whitewash the Kiwis in the two-match Test series, but with defeat in the series opener, they are out of contention for the WTC final, with Team India joining Australia in the finale. The fifth day began with a rain delay. After the weather cleared, the Black Caps were set to face a minimum of 53 overs, with a total of 257 required for a stunning victory.
NZ was without opener Tom Latham. Henry Nicholls gave it his all but finished with a 24-ball 20. It provided a glimpse into the hosts’ minds as they pursued the target.
Following Nicholls’ dismissal, Mitchell, whose century propelled the Black Caps to an 18-run lead, came out all guns blazing.
He upped the ante and added some urgency to the chase, while Williamson also held his end. Although the former captain appeared rusty, he did not give up his wicket.
Williamson-Mitchell took the initiative in their 142-run stand, finding the boundaries and running hard to keep the scoreboard ticking. Mitchell finished with an 86-ball 81 that included three fours and four sixes. Williamson’s 27th Test tonne guided the home side to a famous two-wicket win on the final ball of the match despite regular wicket falls and tight bowling.
Asitha Fernando bowled on the middle and leg stump with one needed off the final delivery as Williamson attempted but failed to hook. As wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella missed hitting the stumps at the striker’s end, Williamson and Neil Wagner ran to steal a run. Fernando collected the ball and hit the woodwork at the non-end, striker’s but Williamson’s timely dive sealed the Black Caps’ famous victory.
Sri Lanka, led by Dimuth Karunaratne, fought valiantly from the start. After being invited to bat first, they scored quickly and totaled 355. Furthermore, they had New Zealand reeling at 151 for 5, but couldn’t get rid of their middle and lower order in a hurry. The hosts took a crucial lead with 373 thanks to Mitchell’s 102 and Matt Henry’s 72.
Later, Mathews’ 115 helped SL reach 302 all-out, setting up a difficult 285-run target. Nonetheless, NZ’s attacking performance effectively ended the game for SL, putting them out of contention for the WTC final.
Check Kane Williamson Last Run Video .
What a Match Kane Williamson done it for New Zealand & helps India reach World Test Championship finals. #wtcfinal #WTC2023pic.twitter.com/qXaemWPfbM— ɅMɅN DUВΞY (@imAmanDubey) March 13, 2023
Sri Lanka arrived in New Zealand with a herculean task ahead of them: whitewash the hosts 2-0 and hope that India does not win the ongoing Ahmedabad Test against Australia. However, with this defeat, they are eliminated from contention for the WTC final.
Meanwhile, regardless of the outcome of the Ahmedabad Test, India has qualified and will face Australia in the World T20 summit clash at The Oval on June 7.
Whole India is very happy with this victory, whole India is thanking New Zealand in different ways. All India people are thanking Kane Williamson on Twitter. If Sri Lanka had won then India would have been out, today on 13th March due to the draw of match between Australia and India there was peace in India.
But suddenly the game turned and New Zealand’s famous batsman scored 1 run on the last ball and gave New Zealand victory on the 5th day. And in the same way India was second in the points table of WTC, then it remained second only. Now the Oval Cricket Stadium between Australia and India will be held on June 7 this year after the IPL is over.