Sri Lanka vs New Zealand 3rd Test, Day 3 preview: Sublime Latham needs to push for big lead

Dhananjaya de Silva 100 Sri Lanka New Zealand

With a delightful 111 not out, Tom Latham lifted New Zealand from 126/4 to 196/4 by stumps, adding 70 with BJ Watling (25*). Thanks to him, New Zealand are now only 48 behind Sri Lanka in the first innings. Earlier, Latham also added 34 with Kane Williamson, 50 with Ross Taylor, and 42 with Henry Nicholls.

Latham and Watling, followed by Colin de Grandhomme, will have to secure a lead as substantial as possible. Sri Lanka, on the other hand, have bowled well: they need to stay patient, perhaps even cut down scoring opportunities, and wait.

Sri Lanka added exactly 100 to their overnight score of 144/6, of which Dhananjaya de Silva got 77 alone. He was last out, for 109, bowled by Trent Boult (3/75) while attempting a desperate slog. Tim Southee, who took 2 wickets in 3 balls in the morning, finished with 4/63.

Dhananjaya followed this by catching Jeet Raval, Ross Taylor, and Henry Nicholls, all of them caught at slip off spinners. Kane Williamson seemed to have found form before Lahiru Kumara snared him. Lasith Embuldeniya tossed one up to get rid of a charging Taylor; and Nicholls edged one off Dilruwan.

Key players

Dimuth Karunaratne (Sri Lanka): With scores of 39, 122, and 65, Karunaratne has been Sri Lanka's standout cricketer of the series. He will have to play a major role irrespective of who takes lead.

Tom Latham (New Zealand): Latham has been wonderful in the second innings, but he needs to pick up from where he left on Saturday. A big score may decide the Test in New Zealand's favour.

Brief scores

Sri Lanka 244 (Dhananjaya de Silva 109, Dimuth Karunaratne 65; Tim Southee 4/63, Trent Boult 3/75) lead New Zealand 196/4 (Tom Latham 111*; Dilruwan Perera 2/76) by 48 runs.

Prediction

New Zealand to secure a 100-run lead and push for a win.