New Zealand in tatters, Samaraweera hits ton

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Sri Lanka retained the upper hand on day two of the second Test against New Zealand, reducing the visitors to 159-5 at stumps.

Updated: August 27, 2009 14:16 IST
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Colombo, Sri Lanka:

New Zealand's batting was left in tatters in the second Test on Thursday as Sri Lanka's Thilan Samaraweera scored a second successive century to surpass 1,000 Test runs this year.

The tourists, replying to Sri Lanka's first innings score of 416, saw their entire top order wiped out as they struggled to 159-5 by stumps on the second day at the Sinhalese sports club.

Ross Taylor was unbeaten on 70 after surviving a close appeal for leg-before by spin king Muttiah Muralitharan when on 30.

Brendon McCullum was on five with the tourists still needing 58 more runs to avoid the follow-on.

Samaraweera, who made 159 in the first Test at Galle which Sri Lanka won by 202 runs, hit 143 on way to becoming the second batsman after England captain Andrew Strauss to complete 1,000 runs this year.

The right-hander has so far scored 1,058 runs in eight Tests in 2009 with two double centuries among his four three-figure knocks. Strauss, in comparison, has 1,071 runs from 12 matches.

New Zealand were reduced to 49-2 when Tim McIntosh was given out leg-before to fast bowler Dammika Prasad for five and Daniel Flynn was caught behind off left-arm seamer Thilan Thushara for 13.

Martin Guptill made a solid 35 when he hooked Thushara to deep square-leg where Muralitharan took an easy catch to make it 63-3.

Jesse Ryder helped Taylor put on 85 for the fourth wicket, before two quick wickets left the Kiwis reeling.

Ryder was caught in the leg trap off Rangana Herath for 23 and nightwatchman Jeetan Patel lobbed a catch to slips off Muralitharan.

Earlier, Samaraweera hit 17 boundaries and celebrated his 11th Test century in 54 matches by smashing the next ball from seamer Iain O'Brien over the square-leg boundary for six.

He batted for six hours and 22 minutes to anchor Sri Lanka's innings before he was ninth out, caught behind by wicket-keeper McCullum while trying to reverse sweep off-spinner Patel.

Sri Lanka, who were comfortably placed at 367-4 before lunch, lost their last six wickets for 49 runs in a dramatic collapse in the afternoon session.

Patel finished with 4-78, including the wickets of Prasad and Herath off successive deliveries, while skipper Daniel Vettori took 3-104 in 40.3 overs of left-arm spin.

Samaraweera, who turns 33 next month, has endured an extraordinary year in which he hit two successive double-centuries against Pakistan before being laid low by gunshots during a militant attack.

He was hospitalised for two weeks after he suffered a bullet injury in the left thigh when gunmen opened fire on the Sri Lankan team bus in the Pakistani city of Lahore on March 3.

Seven Sri Lankan cricketers and an assistant coach were injured in the attack, while eight Pakistani security men and bystanders were killed.

Samaraweera proved the main stumbling block for New Zealand after Sri Lanka resumed at their overnight score of 262-3.

Former captain Mahela Jayawardene missed a second successive ton against the Kiwis when he edged a ball from O'Brien to McCullum after making 92.

Jayawardene, who hit 114 in the first Test, put on 180 runs for the fourth wicket with Samaraweera after Sri Lanka were struggling at 115-3 before tea on the first day.

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