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19-Dec-2018 05:00:00 GMT
NZ v SL - 1st Test, Wellington, day 5

Mendis, Mathews turn script to earn Sri Lanka hard-fought draw

Sri Lanka 282 (Mathews 83, Dickwella 80*, Karunaratne 79, Southee 6-68) and 287 for 3 (Mendis 141*, Mathews 120*) drew with New Zealand 578 (Latham 264*, Williamson 91, Taylor 50, Nicholls 50, Kumara 4-127)

Wellington: Sri Lanka battled to a rain-affected draw in the first Test against New Zealand on Wednesday after the Black Caps were unable to break an epic stand by Kusal Mendis and Angelo Mathews.

The tourists were 287 for three in their second innings -- still nine runs away from an innings defeat -- when the umpires called time with only 13 overs bowled on the final day.

Mendis was unbeaten on 141 and Mathews 120 not out at stumps after a 274-run stand that, along with the weather, allowed Sri Lanka to salvage a draw.

New Zealand will view the draw as a missed opportunity after they took control of the Test with a mammoth 578 in the first innings, anchored by Tom Latham's unbeaten 264.

Latham's epic effort overhauled former England captain Alastair Cook's 244 as the highest score by an opener carrying their bat in Test history.

The emphatic performance should have given the New Zealand bowlers two full days to attack a Sri Lanka line-up that showed little fight in the first innings, but Mathews and Mendis responded with a masterclass of their own.

The pair came together late on day three with Sri Lanka reeling at 13 for three in their second dig, trailing New Zealand's first inning total by 296.

They batted through the whole of day four, fending off a barrage of bouncers from the New Zealanders in a stubborn rearguard action that, along with the weather, allowed Sri Lanka to salvage a draw.

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