It all came down to a few inches as New Zealand defeated Sri Lanka by two wickets to secure India’s spot in the World Test Championship final. The WTC title contest will take place at The Oval in London from June 7.
In the remarkable turn of event Day 5 between New Zealand and Sri Lanka deserve a documentary.
New Zealand needed eight runs from the last over with three wickets intact. The third ball of the last over, Matt Henry, got run out, five was needed of the last three balls. Next ball, Williamson hits a boundary of Asitha Fernando’s bowling. Fernando bounced back with a bouncer and it was a dot.
BLACKCAPS WIN BY 2 WICKETS!
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The winning run came when the former captain and the injured Neil Wagner ran a bye, Williamson securing the victory by diving full length to get his bat down in the crease before a direct hit broke the stumps. Williamson was on his knees as he saw the replay and got a big hug from Wagner.
Kane Williamson played the leading role by notching up his 27th test century in a beautifully controlled innings of 121 not out after the first 4.5 hours of play at Hagley Oval had been washed out by rain.
New Zealand were in trouble, losing both their openers Tom Latham (24) and Devon Conway (5), early. Henry Nicholls, too perished after socring a quick 20.
Thereafter, Williamson and Daryl Mithcell (81) put on 142 runs for the fourth wicket to put the Balckcaps on the cusp of victory.
But wait, there was still a twist left in the match. Asitha Fernando removed Mitchell, Tom Blundell and Michael Bracewell to to bring Sri Lanka back into the game. Lahiru Kumara dismissed Tim Southee to give the Lankans hope.
But Williamson stood tall and kept New Zealand ahead and at last, it was his dive that sealed a famous win for the hosts and secured India’s ticket to the WTC final.
Sri Lanka, 1st Innings: 355 (Kusal Mendis 87, Dimuth Karunaratne 50, Angelo Mathews 47; Tim Southee 5-64, Matt Henry 4-80)
New Zealand, 1st Innings: 373 (Daryl Mitchell 102, Matt Henry 72, Tom Latham 67; Asitha Fernando 4-85, Lahiru Kumara 3-76)
Sri Lanka, 2nd Innings 302: (Angelo Mathews 115, Dhanajaya de Silva 47no; Blair Tickner 4-100, Matt Henry 3-71)
New Zealand, 2nd Innings 285-8: (Kane Williamson 121 not out, Daryl Mitchell 81; Asitha Fernando 3-63)