Sri Lanka beat New Zealand by six wickets in Galle on Saturday to take a 1-0 lead in the two-Test series. Chasing a target of 268, Sri Lanka rode on a superlative hundred from captain Dimuth Karunaratne to get over the line in the first session of Day 5.
Dimuth Karunaratne posted his ninth Test hundred along with enjoying a record-equalling opening partnership of 161 with Lahiru Thirimanne, who made 64, as Sri Lanka collected 60 World Test Championship points.
Sri Lanka started the fifth day on an overnight total of 133/0. Openers Karunaratne and Lahiru Thirimane took their stand to 161 before the latter was dismissed in the 11th over of the day by William Sommerville.
Karunaratne and Thirimanne’s stand equalled the record for the highest opening partnership in Tests between the two countries. In 1991, John Wright and Trevor Franklin had also put on 161 for the first wicket in Hamilton.
The opening stand was pivotal in Sri Lanka achieving the highest successful run chase in Galle, easily surpassing the previous best of 99. Resuming play on 133 for no loss, Sri Lanka required 135 from the remaining three sessions.
Ajaz Patel then struck in the next over with the wicket of Kusal Mendis.
Angelo Matthews, however, stuck with his captain and Karunaratne soon scored his ninth Test ton with a four. It was the first time in 60-Test career that Karunaratne had scored a hundred in the fourth innings of a match.
The pair kept ticking away the runs and by the time Karunaratne was dismissed, the hosts were just 50 runs away from victory.
With the match nearing its conclusion the first session was extended by 30 minutes. New Zealand finally managed to dismiss Perera when he was caught at mid-on off Boult. However Matthews and Dananjaya de Silva comfortably saw Sri Lanka over the line.