Updated: Aug 20, 2019
Yes, you heard it right. It's a hard pill to swallow, still it's true. The previous highest chase at Galle was a lowly 99. Sri Lanka did that back in 2014 against Pakistan. Having 268 runs on board, analysis in hand, the history of the wicket on the back of his mind, Kane Williamson never misread the fact that he has a luxury of runs in his basket. And the question remains, why would he misinterpret the situation? History says it all.
The joy on day 4 turned out to be sorrow on day 5 when Dimuth Karunaratne, the captain of Sri Lanka, notched up a marvellous hundred (122) which completely diminished the comeback chances of New Zealand. It was Karunaratne's 9th century overall and 1st in the fourth-innings. More than the individual's milestone, it was his 161-run opening partnership with Lahiru Thirimanne, which closed the door for Kiwis.
For ICC World Test Championship Points distribution system check at the end of the article.
Kane Williamson on Loss
Post the Galle loss, Blackcaps' captain, Kane Williamson admitted that he misread the conditions. The pitch was supposed to deteriorate more as the game progressed but, it didn't. Though it slowed down, yet it wasn't a rank turner. It was easy to bat on. Supporting the scenario, the lower order of New-Zealand was more prolific in the second-innings than the top order. They added up 229 runs to a total of 285 runs, which is more than 80% of the total score.
Dimuth Karunaratne's Magical Innings
Coming to the Sri Lankan innings, the biggest part of their innings was the attitude. Leading from the front, captain Karunaratne, brushing the aggression aside kept the game always under control. Though he got a couple of lives yet, nothing deterred his confidence on the way to take Sri Lanka home. A couple of rash shots from Kushal Mendis, promising next-gen talent and Kusal Perera in the wake of finishing the game before lunch may have given a little heart attack to their fans but, the calmness of experienced Angelo Mathews settled the dust for Sri Lanka.
Points to Ponder for New-Zealand
Despite hitting great areas in the second innings, Kiwi-spinners couldn't leave as good an impression as they did in the first innings. In 66.2 overs of spin in first innings, they bagged 8 wickets whereas in a total of 65 overs in second innings they captured merely 2 wickets. It elaborates the fact that how carefully Sri Lankan batters handled them. Moreover, it will add up to New Zealand's woes that Mitchell Santner couldn't pick up any wicket in any of the innings.
Taking positives from this game and their previous tour in 2012, when they lost their first Test coincidentally at Galle this time as well and ended up equalling the series against a very strong Sri Lankan side, New-Zealand would come back strong at P Sara Oval. Will there be a repetition of 2012 as the P Sara is the venue for the second Test this time around as well?
ICC World Test Championship points system
As per the ICC's rule for World Test Championship, each team over the next two years will play six other teams, three at home and three away. Moreover, each series will consist of between two and five Test matches and carry a maximum of 120 points.
Brief Scores: New Zealand 249 (Taylor 86, Lakmal 4/29, Dananjaya 5/80) and 285 (Watling 77, Embuldeniya 4/99) lost to Sri Lanka 267 (Dickwella 61, Patel 5/89) and 268/4 (Karunaratne 122, Thirimanne 64) by six wickets.