NZ 155-2 when bad light ends Day 1 of 2nd test vs Sri Lanka

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Rain delayed the start and bad light hastened the finish on the first day of the second cricket between New Zealand and Sri Lanka on Friday.

In the 48 overs that were bowled in between, New Zealand reached 155-2 after being sent in. Devon Conway made 78 and gave the New Zealand innings solidity in an 87-run opening stand with Tom Latham (21).

Kane Williamson was 26 not out when bad light brought and end to the day’s play 45 minutes before scheduled stumps. Henry Nicholls, battling a form slump, was 18 not out.

Heavy rain overnight continued into the morning and prevented any play before lunch Friday. When the covers finally came off, a bright green pitch was revealed and Sri Lanka captain Dimuth Karunaratne was delighted to send New Zealand in when he won the toss.

But looks can be deceiving. The pitch didn’t help Sri Lanka’s three seamers as Karunaratne expected: still soft, it was relatively slow and the bounce was not threatening. With no further rain, the pitch might be harder and better on the second day.

Conway and Latham were watchful at the start. Taking time to get the measure of the pitch, they scored only 20 from the first nine overs.

The batsmen looked under no threat, until Latham who had taken his 21 runs from 73 balls, finally hit out but lofted the ball directly to Prabath Jayasuriya coming off the fence at backward square.

Conway reached his eighth half century from 69 balls, scoring steadily. By tea New Zealand was 109-1 and Conway had hit all 12 of the boundaries in the innings by that stage.

He looked set and immovable when he came down the pitch to an innocuous delivery from Dhananjaha de Silva, was caught halfway between defense and a forceful shot and popped the ball back to the bowler. He was out in similar style in the second innings of the first test at Christchurch.

“As we said earlier in the day, it is certainly green,” Conway said. “It wasn’t too bad out there.

“There was a little bit of tennis ball bounce early with the new ball. But when we got through that period scoring became a bit easier. When they hit that hard length, top of the stumps and started to nibble it a bit they asked some tough questions. It was nice to get a couple of bad balls and put them away.”

New Zealand leads the two-match series after winning the first test by two wickets with a single off the last ball on the fifth day. Williamson ran the winning run with Neil Wagner and was 121 not out.

Williamson continued that form Friday with a careful innings which had lasted 102 minutes by stumps.

Nicholls had batted 55 minutes and was working hard to work his way out of a lengthy slump. He made 2 and 20 in the first test against Sri Lanka and 70 runs at 17.5 in New Zealand’s previous two-test series against England. His last innings of 50 or more came 10 tests ago, against South Africa in February 2022.

Wagner was not in the team for the second test. He played the last day of the Christchurch test with a hamstring and a bulging disc in his back. His place was taken in Wellington by Doug Bracewell, who is playing his first test since 2016.


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