NZ vs SL: Williamson and Nicholls Dominate Sri Lanka in Record-Breaking Partnership
Kane Williamson slammed a scintillating double ton [Source: Twitter]
New Zealand find themselves in a commanding position in the ongoing Test match against Sri Lanka, with a significant 554-run lead and ample time remaining in the game. The hosts scored a colossal 580 for 4, propelled by the outstanding performances of Kane Williamson and Henry Nicholls, both of whom scored double centuries. In contrast, Sri Lanka's chances appear bleak as they lost two quick wickets and went into stumps on Day 2 at 26/2.
How the battle panned out on Day 2?
The second day of play began with Williamson and Nicholls continuing to dominate the Sri Lankan bowling attack. During the initial hour of the game, the duo scored 79 runs in 15 overs without losing any wickets. Despite the Sri Lankan bowlers resorting to a short-ball barrage, it failed to cause any significant uncertainty, and the Kiwi batsmen managed to counter it without much trouble.
When the first session came to a close, New Zealand had already set their sight on achieving a mammoth first innings score. In 34 overs, the Kiwis added an impressive 149 runs to their total without losing a wicket, as Williamson reached his 28th century. Nicholls provided excellent support, and the runs flowed with an abundance that Sri Lanka found challenging to stem.
The experienced duo continued to punish the Lankan bowlers in the second session, and the visitors failed to make any breakthroughs as the partnership between Williamson and Nicholls continued to flourish.
The southpaw was given a reprieve when he was dropped by Dhananjaya de Silva in the 90s, but he didn't give the opposition any further chances after that and brought up his century, and the Kiwis went into Tea on Day 2 at an impressive 443/2.
After Tea, Williamson went on to notch up a brilliant double century, the sixth of his Test career. The pair put on an astounding 363-run partnership for the third wicket before Williamson was caught at long on off Prabath Jayasuriya's bowling after scoring 215 off 296 balls.
Daryl Mitchell joined Nicholls at the crease but was dismissed after a brief cameo of 17 runs off Kasun Rajitha's bowling. New Zealand waited for Nicholls to complete his maiden double century, and once he achieved the milestone, they declared their innings at an enormous 580/4.
In response, Sri Lanka's batting lineup got off to a terrible start, losing opener Oshada Fernando for just six runs. Matt Henry provided the opening breakthrough for New Zealand as he got Fernando to edge one behind to the keeper.
Kusal Mendis, who came in at No. 3, was also dismissed early as Devon Conway took an exceptional catch at point off Doug Bracewell's bowling. Bracewell, who returned to New Zealand's playing XI after six years, showed his value with this crucial wicket.
Jayasuriya was sent as a nightwatchman to partner Dimuth Karnunaratne, and the visitors made sure that they avoided any further setbacks as they navigated a tricky period without losing any more wickets. Sri Lanka went into Stumps on Day 2 at 26/2, and while New Zealand will be eager to take more wickets on Day 3, the visitors will be looking to forge a strong partnership and reduce the deficit.
New Zealand (1st innings): 580/4 d (123)
Kane Williamson 215 (296), Henry Nicholls 200* (240);
Kasun Rajitha 2-126, Dhananjaya de Silva 1-75
Sri Lanka (1st innings): 26/2 (17)
Dimuth Karunaratne 16* (45), Oshada Fernando 6 (32);
Doug Bracewell 1-1, Matt Henry 1-15
Sri Lanka trail by 554 runs.