After being on the backfoot for a good part of the match, Sri Lanka finally had something to be happy about as the duo of Kusal Mendis and Angelo Mathews staged a dramatic fightback that made the first Test end in a draw on Tuesday.
This result would be a disappointing one for the hosts who had the Lankans on the mat from the very first day but the visitors, courtesy a 274-run unbeaten partnership helped things end in a draw.
Resuming the day at 20/3, Sri Lanka dealt well with the initial threat posed by Trent Boult and Tim Southee and batted with gusto–something which was absent in their game for a long time. They didn’t offer any opportunity for the Kiwis to bounce back and make further inroads into their batting and instead turned on the style with both Mathews and Mendis scoring stylish hundreds each. While Mendis top-scored with 141 runs of 335 balls with 16 fours, Mathews showed glimpses of his past self, playing a stable 323-ball knock that yielded him 120 runs where he had 11 hits to the fence.
This was the first instance in more than ten years when no wicket fell in a day in a Test match.
The duo frustrated the Kiwi bowlers who surprisingly ran short of ideas and couldn’t repeat their performance from the last innings. But Sri Lanka forced the outcome to a draw from what looked like would be a heavy defeat and would be mighty pleased with this feat. This innings also would give them a world of confidence going ahead into the series.