New Zealand wicketkeeper BJ Watling believes the Black Caps can take plenty of positives into the second Test against Sri Lanka, despite a six-wicket defeat in the first match of the series.

Dimuth Karunaratne scored a century in Galle to inspire Sri Lanka to a comfortable victory, ending a run of seven straight Test defeats to the Black Caps.

Tom Latham's drop let Karunaratne off the hook early on day five, and though the hosts eventually lost their skipper when he edged Tim Southee behind, Sri Lanka had already done the bulk of the work in pursuit of their 268-run target.

Watling, though, insists New Zealand played well in spells throughout the first Test, suggesting missed chances to dismiss Sri Lanka's key figures were crucial in deciding the outcome.

"We're in a good space, we're very disappointed to have lost that match," Watling told a news conference ahead of the second Test in Colombo.

"We'd got ourselves into a good position to win it and obviously, we let it slip a fraction. We felt like we played some pretty good cricket over the five days."

"We lost some key phases of that game. We know it's tough to play in sub-continent conditions and then it'll all happen, and you can lose wickets.

"It's about taking it that little bit deeper. We had a few good starts in the first innings and probably should have scored about 350 on that surface, but we let Sri Lanka back in the game and that cost us.

"We bowled really well in the first innings and put them under a lot of pressure. Even in the second innings we missed a few chances that could have changed the game.

"Our spinners bowled really well, asked a lot of good questions, but we didn't quite take those opportunities."

Watling, who scored 77 in the second innings, added New Zealand cannot entirely blame themselves for the defeat.

"Nobody is trying to drop a catch or miss anything. They were pretty tough chances. We have to give a lot of credit to Sri Lanka's batsmen, especially their opening partnership," he said.

"They took it deep enough to win the Test match and hopefully we can look to make some more inroads into the top order and put the middle order under some more pressure."

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson and Sri Lanka bowler Akila Dananjaya were both reported for suspect bowling actions in the first Test.

They will undergo testing within 14 days from the reporting date - August 18 - though they are permitted to bowl in Colombo.

Kane Williamson and Akila Dananjaya have been reported for suspect bowling actions during the first Test between New Zealand and Sri Lanka, the ICC has confirmed.

Sri Lanka ran out comfortable six-wicket winners in Galle, but players on both sides were cited on the match officials' report for possible illegal bowling.

Williamson, an occasional off-spin bowler, sent in just three overs for nine runs in the match, all in the final innings.

Dananjaya, meanwhile, was decisive in his side's victory, with a first-innings five-for putting Sri Lanka in control. He added a more modest 1-84 next time out.

The 25-year-old served a suspension late last year after his bowling action was reported in a Test against England.

Both Williamson and Dananjaya will undergo testing within 14 days but can continue to bowl in the meantime, as the second and final Test begins on Thursday.

Sri Lanka cruised to a six-wicket victory over New Zealand as Dimuth Karunaratne scored his first century in 23 innings on day five of the first Test in Galle.

Karunaratne - who had reached 71 not out to lead Sri Lanka to 133-0 at the close of day four - scored 122 as he maintained his perfect record as Test captain.

Tom Latham's drop let Karunaratne off the hook early in Sunday's play and, though the hosts eventually lost their skipper when he edged Tim Southee behind, the damage was already done.

Angelo Matthews (28 not out) picked up the mantle and with the umpires granting an extension prior to lunch he sealed the win, and 60 ICC Test Championship points, when he nudged Trent Boult for a single, with Sri Lanka successfully chasing down 267, bettering their previous record run chase at Galle (99).

After a superb knock in the last session of day four, Karunaratne picked up where he left off, clipping New Zealand's spin bowlers around the pitch with ease.

Karunaratne hit six fours and one maximum, with that huge hit over midwicket from Ajaz Patel bringing up a 150 partnership with Lahiru Thirimanne (64), who was dismissed three overs later when the Black Caps reviewed an initially unsuccessful lbw appeal.

Kusal Mendis (10) was quick to stamp his authority on proceedings - hitting William Somerville for four on his second delivery before he launched a six over long on.

Mendis' cameo was a short one, though, with Patel drawing a lazy sweep that Sri Lanka's number three wedged straight to Jeet Raval.

But Matthews steadied the ship, keeping the strike ticking over between himself and Karunaratne, and the latter ended his long wait for a ninth Test hundred when he lobbed Patel for four.

With the hosts firmly in control, Sri Lanka's batsmen picked up the pace and, though Southee ended Karunaratne's innings before Kusal Perera (23) sent a Boult delivery to Mitchell Santner, Matthews gave Sri Lanka a 1-0 lead in the two-match series four overs later.

Sri Lanka put themselves in a strong position to win the first Test against New Zealand as their run chase began with an unbroken century stand.

Set 268 for victory in Galle, Sri Lanka were handsomely placed on 133-0 when fading light stopped play late on day four.

Dimuth Karunaratne reached 71 not out and Lahiru Thirimanne was undefeated on 57, in what was already a record first-wicket partnership for Sri Lanka in the fourth innings of a Test.

New Zealand, who sit second in the ICC Test rankings, stretched their overnight lead of 177 to 267, with BJ Watling adding 14 to his overnight score before being caught behind for 77 by Niroshan Dickwella off Lahiru Kumara.

William Somerville made an unbeaten 40, with Trent Boult cracking a rapid 26 and last man Ajaz Patel weighing in with 14, the lower-order batting success in the innings of 285 all out suggesting it was a wicket ripe for scoring on Saturday.

That was how it continued to look as Sri Lanka began chasing down their target, although Tim Southee and Trent Boult gave Karunaratne and Thirimanne cause for early worry.

Thirimanne was well beaten by a ball from Southee that narrowly cleared off stump, before moments later Karunaratne almost nicked a delicious delivery from Boult.

It was often Karunaratne who was riding his luck, and it was not until the 22nd over that Sri Lanka, ranked sixth among Test nations, registered a boundary.

Later, Watling could not cling to a difficult chance as Karunaratne got a bottom edge off Somerville, the ball going through the wicketkeeper to bring up the two runs that took him to a half-century.

Tom Latham at short leg missed out on a sharp chance as Karunaratne used up another life, and the same batsman was fortunate not to be stumped by Watling in the next over.

Somerville, a 35-year-old off-spinner playing just his second Test match, took three first-innings wickets and was unlucky to gain no further reward as Sri Lanka edged towards their target in the gathering gloom.

Tom Latham believes setting Sri Lanka in excess of 200 will give New Zealand a great chance of winning the first Test after BJ Watling dug in on an eventful day three in Galle.

Lasith Embuldeniya (4-71) claimed two early wickets as Sri Lanka reduced the Black Caps to 25-3 after Niroshan Dickwella (61) and Suranga Lakmal (40) got them up to 267 all out - securing a first-innings lead of 18.

Watling (63 not out) and Latham (45) made key runs as the spinners piled on the pressure with Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor falling cheaply. 

The tourists were leading by 177 on 195-7 when stumps were called due to bad light on Friday and Latham thinks Sri Lanka could be up against it if Watling and the tail can hang around on day four.

"I think anything above 200, we are not too far off from that," the opening batsman said.

"The important thing for us is to come back tomorrow morning and put up those partnerships like we did today. Like Tim Southee (23), Will Somerville can help us build a partnership with BJ, who has been outstanding today.

"Hopefully we can stitch that total to make as many as possible. We know how tough it can be in the fourth innings to chase down a score.

"It's a surface where when you get in, you can score, but sometimes things happen quickly in this part of the world. This wicket is no different.

"Through the three innings we have seen wickets lost in a hurry. Hopefully we can put pressure on the Sri Lankans and the wicket keeps deteriorating and the spinners will come into play."

Dickwella is confident Sri Lanka can pull off a successful run chase if they wrap up New Zealand's second innings before too long.

"The wicket is turning but it is slow turn. Slower than what we usually get in Galle. Even if we get a target of 225 or so, I think we can chase it down." said the wicketkeeper-batsman.

"Batting fourth will be tough on this wicket, no doubt, but we have a decent batting line-up. Those chasing stats are what teams have done in past.

"We're a different team and this is a different opposition. We have to play according the situation. Our batters will do the job, I feel."

A battling unbeaten half-century from BJ Watling frustrated Sri Lanka and gave New Zealand a lead of 177 at stumps on day three of the first Test in Galle.

Watling fought it out on a turning pitch and the wicketkeeper-batsman was still there on 63 when bad light brought an end to play late in the day, with the Black Caps 195-7 in their second innings.

Sri Lanka were dismissed for 267 in the morning session to take a first-innings advantage of 18, Niroshan Dickwella top-scoring by reaching 61 on Friday.

Lasith Embuldeniya, who finished the day with 4-71, struck twice to put New Zealand in all sorts of early trouble on 25-3, but Watling led the recovery and Tom Latham made 45 to leave the match nicely poised.

Sri Lanka added 40 runs in the morning after resuming on 227-7, Dickwella and Suranga Lakmal (40) extending their eighth-wicket stand to 81 before William Somerville (3-83) and Trent Boult (2-45) wrapped up the innings.

Jeet Raval fell tamely chipping Dhananjaya de Silva (2-16) to Dimuth Karunaratne in the covers and Lahiru Thirimanne took a brilliant skier running back from mid-on when Kane Williamson (4) tried to hit Embuldeniya over the top.

Ross Taylor gave his wicket away too easily, charging down the track and getting nowhere near the pitch of the ball, edging Embuldeniya to De Silva at first slip for three.

Latham and Henry Nicholls steadied the innings, with opener Latham launching Embuldeniya over midwicket for six.

Akila Dananjaya ended a stand of 57 by removing Latham, and the wicket of Nicholls soon followed. The impressive Embuldeniya then reduced New Zealand to 124-6 by dismissing Mitchell Santner on the stroke of tea, but Tim Southee was dropped twice as Sri Lanka allowed the lead to grow.

Watling played with great conviction under pressure, bringing up a resilient 17th Test fifty before Embuldeniya had Southee (22) stumped, ending a seventh-wicket partnership of 54.

The composed Watling struck Lahiru Kumara for back-to-back boundaries and Somerville hung in there prior to play ending under gloomy skies.

New Zealand spinner Ajaz Patel claimed a second Test five-for but Niroshan Dickwella and Suranga Lakmal came to Sri Lanka's rescue as 12 wickets fell on day two of the first Test in Galle.

The excellent Akila Dananjaya (5-80) and Lakmal (4-29) wasted no time in dismissing the tourists for 249 in the morning session after they had resumed on 203-5, Ross Taylor failing to add to his overnight score of 86.

Half-centuries from Kusal Mendis (53) and Angelo Mathews (50) put Sri Lanka in a promising position, but Patel (5-76) generated sharp turn as Dimuth Karunaratne's side collapsed to 161-7 losing five wickets for 18 runs.

Dickwella (39 not out) and Lakmal (28 not out) ensured the first of two Tests was finally poised at stumps, though, seeing Sri Lanka through to 227-7 - a deficit of just 22 runs.

Taylor fell off the first ball he faced on the second day edging Lakmal behind with a loose stroke, and the paceman struck again by trapping Mitchell Santner leg before.

Tim Southee came down the track to dispatch Dhananjaya de Silva over the ropes, but was run out later in the over.

Trent Boult - who had the ball lodged in his helmet after attempting a sweep - added a useful 18 before Lakmal polished off the tail as the tourists lost their last five wickets for 44 runs.

Lahiru Thirimanne gifted the Black Caps a breakthrough when he was stumped giving Patel the charge in his first over and Karunaratne could have followed in the next over from William Somerville, but Taylor put him down at first slip.

Sri Lanka took lunch on 34-1 and Karunaratne (39) looked in good touch until he was snared lbw by the probing Patel with 66 on the board.

Kusal and Matthews played positively against the spinners, hitting Somerville and Santner respectively for six as they put on 79 for the third wicket.

A lapse in concentration cost Kusal on the stroke of tea, though, the right-hander wafting at a flighted delivery from Patel immediately after reaching his half-century and offering Taylor a simple slip catch.

That sparked a collapse, with Boult getting rid of Kusal Perera and De Silva also failing before Patel secured his fifth wicket by getting one to turn away from Mathews, who edged to Taylor at slip.

Somerville sent Dananjaya on his way for a duck as the procession of wickets continued, but Dickwella and Lakmal provided much-needed resistance with an unbroken stand of 66 to give Sri Lanka a great chance of taking a first-innings lead.

Sri Lanka spinner Akila Dananjaya took a five-for for the fourth time in six Tests only for Ross Taylor to provide some New Zealand resistance on the opening day of a rain-affected first Test in Galle.

New Zealand, back in action for the first time since their thrilling Super Over loss to England in the Cricket World Cup final a month ago, won the toss and looked comfortable on 64 without loss.

However, Tom Latham (30), Kane Williamson (0) and Jeet Raval (33) all fell in quick succession as Dananjaya spun his spell, the 25-year-old then returning before tea to account for Henry Nicholls (42) and BJ Watling (1).

Ross Taylor had moved on to an unbeaten 86 by the time a torrential downpour 7.4 overs into the final session ended the day's play prematurely with New Zealand 203-5.

Dananjaya made the breakthrough when Latham dangled his bat out and nicked behind and he had the prized wicket of Williamson three balls later, the New Zealand captain meekly chipping straight to short midwicket.

The touring side were three down when Raval gave Dhananjaya de Silva a low catch at slip, but Taylor and Nicholls put on a 100-run stand to wrest the initiative back.

It was Dananjaya who broke that partnership by trapping Nicholls lbw, a decision which he frivolously appealed, and Watling went two overs later as he was pinned straight in front when attempting a wild swipe.

The fifth wicket heralded tea and the final session of the day proved brief thanks to an almighty shower, with Mitchell Santner (8 not out) due to return on day two alongside Taylor.

Rumesh Ratnayake has been named interim head coach of Sri Lanka, who appear to be ushering Chandika Hathurusingha towards the exit.

Ratnayake will lead the team for the upcoming series against New Zealand.

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) stated on Wednesday that Hathurusingha, who has been head coach since December 2017, was consequently removed from his role.

However, it is claimed SLC has not yet agreed a deal to sack Hathurusingha, who would reportedly be due a significant severance package.

SLC president Shammi Silva said: "We have appointed Rumesh Ratnayake as interim coach.

"The decisions made from behind the scenes have been successful, but some of the decisions have not been made public. All these decisions are for the benefit of Sri Lankan cricket.

"When we came to power, there was not much time left before the World Cup. We actually had less than two months left.

"We wanted to work on changing the coach, but we had to use the former coach because of the World Cup."

Hathurusingha told ESPN: "As far as I'm concerned, my contract with SLC is still there. The letter [from SLC] doesn't say anything about termination of contract or anything like that."

Dinesh Chandimal has been included in Sri Lanka's preliminary 22-man squad ahead of the Test series against New Zealand.

Chandimal was dropped for the Tests against South Africa earlier this year but his impressive form in domestic action has led to a recall.

Akila Dananjaya and Dilruwan Perera are also back in contention, along with opening batsman Danushka Gunathilaka and fast bowler Lahiru Kumara.

Akila was suspended from international cricket for an illegal action late last year, meaning he missed out on selection for the Cricket World Cup in England.

Angelo Mathews, who did not feature against South Africa due to injury, is back.

All-rounder Shehan Jayasuriya and fast bowler Asitha Fernando are the two uncapped players in a group that will be cut down to 15 next week.

Sri Lanka preliminary squad in full: Dimuth Karunaratne, Angelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal, Lahiru Thirimanne, Kusal Mendis, Kusal Perera, Niroshan Dickwella, Dhananjaya de Silva, Angelo Perera, Oshada Fernando, Danushka Gunathilaka, Shehan Jayasuriya, Chamika Karunaratne, Dilruwan Perera, Akila Dananjaya, Lasith Embuldeniya, Lakshan Sandakan, Suranga Lakmal, Lahiru Kumara, Vishwa Fernando, Kasun Rajitha, Asitha Fernando.

Angelo Mathews guided Sri Lanka to a commanding 122-run win over Bangladesh in Colombo to complete a 3-0 ODI series whitewash.

The experienced all-rounder anchored the hosts' innings masterfully, making 87 out of 294 for eight – a target that always looked likely to be well beyond the tourists on a slowing pitch.

Seamer Kasun Rajitha, playing his first match of the series, staked a convincing claim in the early days of Sri Lanka's post-Lasith Malinga era in the 50-over format by ripping out Bangladesh captain Tamim Iqbal and fellow opener Anamul Haque early in the chase.

Rajitha finished with 2-17 from his five overs, while fellow seamer Dasun Shanaka reduced the middle order to rubble and was the pick of the Sri Lanka attack with 3-27 from six, as Bangladesh were dismissed for 172.

Sri Lanka were made to work for their imposing total after Avishka Fernando was trapped lbw by Shafiul Islam (3-68) in the fifth over.

Captain Dimuth Karunarate and wicketkeeper Kusal Perera steadied matters with 46 and 42 respectively but each fell caught at the wicket in quick succession.

That brought Mathews together with fellow half-centurion Kusal Mendis, who hit 54 from 58 deliveries despite a watchful start to their 101-run partnership.

Soumya Sarkar removed Mendis on his way to career-best figures of 3-56, but that brought Dasun Shanaka to the crease for an explosive 30 off 14 balls.

Mathews rode his luck as he was dropped on 32 and 63 before eventually falling to Soumya in the final over.

It was a fine all-round performance from the pick of Bangladesh's attack, but Soumya was powerless at the other end as Shanaka capitalised on Rajitha's early breakthroughs by removing Mushfiqur Rahim, Mohammad Mithun and Mahmudullah cheaply.

Soumya was the eighth man to go for 69, bowled by spinner Akila Dananjaya. The only other resistance of note came from Taijul Islam, who was left on 39 not out after last man Rubel Hossain was run out.

Mitchell Santner has been named by New Zealand as one of four spinners in a 15-man squad for their two-Test series against Sri Lanka in August.

Santner last played a Test for the Black Caps in December 2017, but the left-arm spinner is part of a squad that also includes Todd Astle, Ajaz Patel and Will Somerville.

New Zealand are readying themselves for spin-friendly conditions in Galle and Colombo in a series that also begins their ICC World Test Championship campaign.

Black Caps head coach Gary Stead said he would consider playing three spinners in the same XI against Sri Lanka.

"Playing three spinners is an option in Sri Lankan conditions and we believe this group provides the best variations and skill mix on offer," he said on Monday.

Sri Lanka completed their first home ODI series victory since November 2015 by defeating Bangladesh by seven wickets to go 2-0 up in the three-match clash.

Avishka Fernando, who only made seven in the series opener, led Sri Lanka to a comfortable victory in Colombo on Sunday by hammering a superb 82.

Sri Lanka, in their first ODI since the retirement of star bowler Lasith Malinga, were already well on their way to reaching their target of 239 when Fernando departed.

It was left to Kusal Mendis (41) and Angelo Mathews (52) to steer them home with over five overs remaining in another mismatch.

Mushfiqur Rahim anchored the Bangladesh innings with his 98 not out enabling the Tigers to set a total of 238-8, having earlier been reduced to 88-5.

But despite becoming only the third Bangladeshi to pass 6,000 ODI runs Mushfiqur missed out on a century in farcical scenes in the closing over as Taijul Islam bizarrely ran himself out.

Mehidy Hasan hit six boundaries to make 43 alongside Mushfiqur in a vital stand of 84 but Bangladesh's score, after they won the toss and opted to bat, never looked likely to be enough.

Isuru Udana, who replaced Malinga in the hosts' XI, took two wickets but it was the recalled Akila Dananjaya who starred with excellent figures of 2-39.

Mehidy removed Sri Lanka captain Dimuth Karunaratne with a beauty for 15 but the 21-year-old Fernando further burnished his growing reputation with another outstanding innings.

Fernando failed to convert for his second ODI century, falling to Mustafizur Rahman (2-50), but his barrage of nine fours and two sixes had Bangladesh on the ropes.

After Kusal Perera made 30, Mendis and Mathews completed the run chase with ease, the latter reaching his half-century by hitting a boundary for the winning runs.

Sri Lanka won the first ODI of the series by 91 runs and will aim to complete a whitewash in Colombo on Wednesday, with Bangladesh hoping to arrest a run of four straight defeats.

Lasith Malinga said Sri Lanka must look to the future after ending his illustrious ODI career on a high note against Bangladesh on Friday.

The 35-year-old paceman took 3-38 as Sri Lanka started the three-match series with a resounding 91-run victory over the Tigers.

Malinga was given a guard of honour by his team-mates for his swansong in the 50-over format, which included a brilliant 111 from Kusal Perera.

The quick, who finished his ODI career with an astonishing 338 wickets from 226 matches, stated now is the time to give younger players a chance to showcase their talents.

"I played the last 15 years for Sri Lanka and it's an honour to play for these people, with the Sri Lankan people behind me." said Malinga, who sits third on the list of Sri Lanka's all-time leading ODI wicket-takers behind Muttiah Muralitharan and Chaminda Vaas.

"We have a new generation for 2023 and need to see who is the best for the next World Cup. It was the right time to go.

"Winning is very important because we are a young team. To survive in cricket you have to be yourself. I hope these young bowlers can put in match-winning performances. We have to look after them."

Lasith Malinga has played his final ODI, starring for Sri Lanka in Friday's victory against Bangladesh in Colombo.

The Lions seamer went out in style as he took three wickets for 38 runs - his dismissal of Mustafizur Rahman wrapping up the win - in a 91-run triumph.

Malinga will continue to play 20-over internationals until next year's T20 World Cup, but it was in the 50-over format that he first established himself as a worldwide bowling icon.

Marking the end of a brilliant career, we take a look at how he compares to the very best.

 

ONE OF SRI LANKA'S ELITE

Malinga ends his career at number three on Sri Lanka's list of ODI wicket-takers, having claimed 338 from 220 innings.

Only the great Muttiah Muralitharan (523) and Chaminda Vaas (399) can better that tally, both playing considerably more innings - 334 and 319 respectively.

That puts Malinga ahead of Sanath Jayasuriya, Nuwan Kulasekara, Dilhara Fernando and team-mate Thisara Perera, with his average of 28.87 better than each of those four players, too.

 

HIS PLACE AMONG THE GREATS

Those figures unsurprisingly put Malinga high on the all-time worldwide list, too.

The 35-year-old is ninth in a table that again sees compatriot Muralitharan on top, also trailing Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Vaas, Shahid Afridi, Shaun Pollock, Glenn McGrath and Brett Lee.

Counting only seamers in ODIs, Malinga is seventh, with Javagal Srinath (315 wickets) the next after him.

He also collected three hat-tricks, which is more than any other bowler in ODI history, while he had eight five-wicket hauls.

 

A GENUINE WORLD CUP STAR

A rare bowling list that Muralitharan does not lead is that of Cricket World Cup wickets, where he is second behind McGrath. Malinga, with 56, 15 behind the leader, is third.

That total came from just 28 innings as Malinga produced his best on the big stage, playing in four World Cups (2007, 2011, 2015 and 2019) and taking 12 or more wickets in each of them. No other bowler has taken at least 10 wickets in more than three tournaments.

Sri Lanka were runners-up in 2007 and 2011, and big-game player Malinga took a hat-trick in each tournament. He took four wickets from four balls for the first of those against South Africa.

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