Williamson’s ton leads Kiwis to nail-biting Test win against Lions

(LANKAPUVATH | COLOMBO) – New Zealand have won a second nail-biting Test in a row with an amazing victory over Sri Lanka on the final ball of the match in Christchurch.

After beating England two weeks ago by a solitary run, the Black Caps have held on to record a nail-biting two-wicket win after Kane Williamson stroked a superb century on the final day.

Needing 15 runs off the last three overs with just the tailenders with him, Williamson controlled the strike and kept the runs flowing to get the hosts to their target of 285 with just one ball to spare with the clock passing 7.30 p.m. local time after a rain-delayed start to the day.

They needed eight from the final over and tailender Matt Henry sacrificed his wicket, run out trying for an impossible second run. With the target now five from three, Williamson slashed a square drive to the boundary and then after an Asitha Fernando bouncer sailed over his head.

On the final delivery, Fernando sent down another shot ball and after missing the hook, Williamson scampered through for a bye, diving to the crease with centimetres to spare despite a direct hit from the relayed throw to the stumps.

Sri Lanka needed to win both Tests to earn a place in the final of the World Test Championship but India have now qualified regardless of the outcome of their fourth Test against Australia.

Rain delayed the start of play on the last day. New Zealand resumed at 1-28, needing a further 257 runs to win and lead the two-match series, after the first session was washed out.

Tom Latham went early for 28 and Henry Nicholls made just 20 at the home side slumped to 3-92.

Williamson found a willing ally in Daryl Mitchell, who thumped three fours and four sixes in his 81 from just 86 balls as they shared a 142-run partnership in 26 overs.

Tom Blundell (three), Michael Bracewell (10), Tim Southee (one) and Henry (four) fell in the frenetic finish chasing quick runs but Williamson held solid to get them home.

New Zealand’s highest previous successful fourth innings run-chase also came in Christchurch in 1994, when they scored 5-324 to beat Pakistan by five wickets at the Lancaster Park ground destroyed in the 2011 earthquake.

A 14th century from Angelo Matthews dragged the tourists right back into the contest at Hagley Oval on day four. He scored a defiant 115 and shared partnerships of 105 with Dinesh Chandimal (42) and 60 with Dhananjaya de Silva (47 not out) to help extend Sri Lanka’s lead from 65 runs overnight to 284 when they were dismissed for 302.

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