The start of the second day itself was delayed by 45 minutes with play not getting underway till 10.30 am under leaden skies with the threat of rain round the corner.
Cricket managed to survive the weather for the first session which easily belonged to New Zealand who managed to grab four Sri Lanka wickets in that period for 59 runs.
The four wickets came in the way of double-wicket maidens from New Zealand’s experienced pair of quick bowlers Boult and Southee who between them have captured nearly 500 Test wickets between them (498).
Boult got rid of Angelo Mathews (2) and Kusal Perera (0) in the 42nd over and Southee repeated that feat in the 58th over by sending back skipper Dimuth Karunaratne for a dogged knock of 65 that saw him occupy the crease for 253 minutes and Niroshan Dickwella for a third ball duck.
Both batsmen were out in similar fashion edging deliveries that left them to wicket-keeper BJ Watling.
Karunaratne at 59 went past 12,000 first-class runs in what is turning out to be a successful international career for him. Boult’s dismissal of Mathews going for a pull shot and gloving it to Watling fetched him his 250th Test wicket and made him only the third New Zealander to do so after Sir Richard Hadlee (431) and Daniel Vettori (361). Southee is not far behind him on 247 wickets.
In between these successes New Zealand were also guilty of spilling three catches – two of them on Thursday when Boult put down the easiest of caught and bowled chances offered by Dhananjaya de Silva at nine and Williamson dropping his vis-a-vis Karunaratne at 61 at short midwicket, the latter miss proving to be inexpensive as the Lankan skipper added only four more to his total before being dismissed.
De Silva however is still at the wicket unbeaten on 32 and being the last of the recognised batsmen a lot will depend on him and the tail how deep they can take the Lankan first innings batting. The way the pitch is assisting the bowlers a total of around 250 or thereabouts looks a good one to defend.
Sri Lanka lead 1-0 the two-match series which is part of the ICC World Test Championship.