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NZ Left Without Leg To Stand On Until Late Recovery

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Jesse Ryder
Jesse Ryder

By Chris Barclay of NZPA

Colombo, Aug 12 NZPA - As Jesse Ryder nursed an upset stomach New Zealand's healthy cricketers confronted some unpalatable truths as their final warm-up match before next week's first test against Sri Lanka flirted with disaster.

Ryder's fragile constitution and New Zealand's batting frailties when facing soldier-cum-legspinner Seekuge Prasanna were the tourists' prime concerns as they battled to post 283 for eight on the opening day of a three-day match against a Sri Lanka Development XI at the Nondescripts Cricket Club.

Prasanna, a national A team player at best, exposed enough chinks in New Zealand's top and middle order today to suggest fellow soldier Ajantha Mendis and the legendary Muttiah Muralitharan will be capable of causing even more angst in Galle from next Tuesday.

New Zealand's batsmen largely neglected to make the most of their last opportunity to post some serious runs, though Ross Taylor complemented his 93 in last weekend's tour opener with a polished 75 studded with nine boundaries and two sixes.

When Taylor became the fifth of six leg before wicket dismissals, New Zealand were in danger of falling short of cribbing 200 on a benign pitch.

Fortunately Jacob Oram and Jeetan Patel added 61 for the eighth wicket, the first phase of a lower order fight back.

Patel was unbeaten on a dogged 68 at the close having scored the majority of an unbroken 50-run stand with Iain O'Brien (9).

Until Patel broke the shackles to take the shine of the second new ball, Oram had controlled the recovery mission with a patient 42 from 95 deliveries.

The allrounder had a half century in his sights until he slapped a rare Prasanna half-tracker to Dinesh Chandimal positioned fractionally inside the rope at midwicket.

Oram and Patel had helped resuscitate New Zealand from 172 for seven to a semi-respectable tally at the close of a fluctuating day.

Martin Guptill also notched a half century, compiling 54 before he became the first of three batsmen to be outfoxed by Prasanna's unorthodox style.

Guptill at least had the satisfaction of contributing to an encouraging 89-run stand with Taylor after Tim McIntosh (0) and Daniel Flynn started the parade of lbw victims inside the first six overs.

Ryder was scheduled as his replacement when New Zealand were 109 for three but was already back at the team hotel, handing Craig Cumming a surprise audition for an opening berth.

McIntosh's four-ball duck gave the Otago captain an opening -- but he managed just two in six balls before Prasanna beat bat and thudded into pad before the appeal was again upheld.

Brendon McCullum's 16 was followed by the end of Taylor's assured 150-ball and a run later the usually reliable Daniel Vettori's bid to marshal another lower order recovery was wrecked by legspinner Jeevan Mendis after he had scored a single.

Luckily Vettori's spin twin Patel was able to assume that role with a belligerent rear guard action that has so far spanned 94 balls though Prasanna's three for 66 from 28 wily overs has the hosts marginally in front.


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