Williamson has Black Caps on course
At 142 for five in their second innings at stumps, New Zealand were 47 short of their target but had Kane Williamson going strongly on 78 not out, with a 2-0 series victory looking the most likely outcome.
But they were struggling in the face of the hostility of Sri Lanka paceman Dushmantha Chameera, who a day on from completing his first five-wicket haul in Tests had picked up another haul of four.
It was just as well for New Zealand that Sri Lanka’s batting second time around had proved truly hapless.
After last man Trent Boult fell for an early duck in the morning session to bring the home side’s first innings to a halt, all out for 237 to trail by 55 runs, New Zealand tore Sri Lanka out for 133 second time around.
The tourists were in the ascendancy at 71 without loss, leading by 126 overall, but it went horribly wrong. The only Sri Lanka batsmen to reach double figures were openers Dimuth Karunaratne and Kusal Mendis, with 27 and 46 respectively, and middle-order man Milinda Siriwardana, who made 26.
All 10 Sri Lankan wickets fell in a period of 14 overs. Tim Southee swiped four, including that of Mendis, and from a position where New Zealand were struggling to save the match they had manufactured a victory opportunity. Sri Lanka had only themselves to blame, playing some wretched, unnecessary shots.
Mendis was arguably unlucky, caught at the fine-leg boundary edge by Mitchell Santner, who did well not to overstep.
It was hard to fault the pitch with regards the collapse, but it remained lively and Chameera had New Zealand rocking at 11 for two when he snagged the wickets of openers Tom Latham and Martin Guptill with short balls neither could bring under control.
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