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Raval falls as Black Caps chase modest Sri Lanka total

By AFP
media Rush of blood: New Zealand's Jeet Raval was out to a rash pull shot on the stroke of lunch in Wellington AFP

A rush of blood to the head cost New Zealand opener Jeet Raval his wicket and gifted Sri Lanka a breakthrough with the last ball before lunch on day two of the first Test in Wellington on Sunday.

Raval was on 43 and looked set to reach his seventh Test half-century when he tried to pull Lahiru Kumara's rising ball to the boundary but instead edged to wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella.

It was a needlessly rash shot from Raval that sent New Zealand into the break at 59 for 1 in reply to Sri Lanka's modest first-innings total of 282.

Until then, Raval and fellow opener Tom Latham, on 15 not out, had looked comfortable on a Basin Reserve pitch that appeared to have flattened out after troubling the tourists on day one.

Sri Lanka added just seven to their overnight batting total before Tim Southee coaxed an inside edge off Kumara to claim a six-wicket innings haul.

Kumara's departure for a duck left Dickwella stranded on 80 not out after he led a rearguard action for Sri Lanka.

Angelo Mathews and Dimuth Karunaratne were the only other batsmen to offer any meaningful resistance, notching 83 and 79 respectively and forging a 133-run partnership.

Sri Lanka, ranked sixth in the world, have lost their last five Tests against New Zealand and suffered a 3-0 home Test series whitewash against England last month.

They have faced upheaval in their coaching and selection ranks in recent weeks and arrived in New Zealand low on confidence.

In contrast, the fourth-ranked Black Caps entered the two-match contest buoyed by their first away Test series win over Pakistan in 49 years last week.

 
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