Skipper Dimuth Karunaratne led by example, hitting a sparkling 122 to help secure Sri Lanka’s six-wicket victory against New Zealand in the opening test at Galle on Sunday. Chasing 268 to go 1-0 up in the two-test series, Karunaratne’s 161-run opening stand with Lahiru Thirimanne (64) set the tone for a successful chase at the Galle International Stadium.
New Zealand spinners claimed two wickets in successive overs to try and prevent it from being a cakewalk but Karunaratne’s ninth test century effectively killed off the contest.
Karunaratne stroked six boundaries and hit one six before the right hander perished when he was caught behind chasing a wide Tim Southee delivery.
The second and final test in Colombo begins on Thursday.
Resuming the final day on 133 for no loss, the opening pair continued their good work until Will Somerville trapped Thirimanne lbw on review after the initial appeal was rejected.
Kusal Mendis (10) looked in a hurry to seal the match as he hit Somerville for a six and a four before his attempted sweep off Ajaz Patel found Jeet Raval at midwicket.
Karunaratne brought up his 100 with his fifth boundary, raising his hands aloft to celebrate the mark.
Kusal Perera made a quick 23 from five boundaries while Angelo Mathews (28 not out) hit the winning run as Sri Lanka romped home in an extended morning session and clinched 60 points in the newly created test championship.