New Zealand overcame Sri Lanka to go one up in the two-match series in an instant classic. On the final day of the first test match when rain clouded over to change the course of the game, Kane Williamson came in to clear the sky and take New Zealand across the finish line.
Test cricket is the best format in cricket history, this match is a prime example of it. The hosts went against the odds to walk out triumphant on their soil in front of their fans. In the first phase of the game, Sri Lanka struggled to pick up wickets and bowled with a consistent line and length. But they found their rhythm when Prabath Jayasuriya got the much-needed breakthrough by picking up the wicket of Daryl Mitchell 81 (86).
New Zealand’s game-changing moment came to an end but still, they had a long distance to cover. Batters came in and went back to the pavilion but Williamson stood alone carrying hopes of his entire team as well as the hopes of the home crowd.
The hosts managed to stay in the game with Williamson playing the key role in the entire chase. For a moment the Kiwis found themselves stuck in a mire when they lost Matt Henry and Tim Southee in a quick session. Their wickets meant that the injured Neil Wagner had to step up irrespective of his condition. As he jogged on the pitch he didn’t show a hint of pain on his face. Even after suffering from a hamstring tear Wagner didn’t turn away from the moment. He braced himself and walked onto the pitch ready to run whenever Williamson asked him to.
Williamson found the boundary with a beautiful shot as he fully committed himself and played a drive to beat Sri Lanka. Asitha Fernando held the ball to bowl the final ball of the game. One ball and one run was the difference between the two teams. Fernando produced a fierce bouncer missing Williamson’s bat entirely. Wagner made an effort to complete the run with all his might. On the other end, Williamson saw his comrade and sprinted with his full potential.
He did his role and completed the run before the ball could kiss the stumps. The epic clash came to an end and Sri Lanka’s hopes of making it into the World Test Championship finals finally came to a bitter end. New Zealand walked away with a two-wicket victory on Day-5. (ANI)