New Zealand 239-7, trails Sri Lanka by 116 on day 3 of 1st Test
Daryl Mitchell completed his eighth half century to keep New Zealand's first innings afloat Saturday on the third morning of the first cricket Test against Sri Lanka.
New Zealand resumed at 162-5, 193 runs behind Sri Lanka's first innings of 355 with Mitchell 40 not out. At lunch it was 239-7 and the deficit had been reduced to 116.
Mitchell's overnight partner Michael Bracewell was out at the end of the first hour for 25 when New Zealand was 188-6.
Captain Tim Southee made a brisk 25 from 20 balls in a 47-run partnership for the seventh wicket which reduced the deficit to 120.
Mitchell carried on as the bulwark of the innings and was 71 not out when an early lunch was taken.
Mitchell's half century came up in the first hour and after he had spent more than three hours at the crease. He had hit three fours and a six in a relatively restrained inninings.
With the support of Bracewell and then Southee, who managed to take the attack back to the Sri Lanka bowlers, Mitchell kept New Zealand's innings alive even when the second new ball was taken.
Southee's bright and breezy innings also included three fours and a whopping six over mid-wicket which was one of the high points of the session for New Zealand.
He fell to a magnificent catch in the deep by Lahiru Kumara who made ground at backward square leg to cup the ball in both hands in a diving catch. Matt Henry joined Mitchell and was 3 not out at the break.
The Sri Lanka bowlers seemed to achieve less movement Saturday than they did on the second day when they frequently caused the ball to deviate sharply off the seam. Even the new ball seemed not to bounce or move disconcertingly.
Bracewell fell to a good catch behind the wicket by Niroshan Dickwella from the bowling of Prabath Jayasuriya, playing back to a turning ball. AP AM AM AM
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