AFP: A Kane Williamson century led New Zealand to a dramatic last-ball, two-wicket victory against Sri Lanka on a rain-disrupted final day in Christchurch yesterday.In a helter-skelter finish, the only Sri Lankans not guarding the boundary for most of the closing 10 overs were the bowler and wicketkeeper as New Zealand chased down their target of 285.
The winning run came from a bye after Williamson missed with his swipe at the ball. He finished 121 not out with New Zealand 285-8 and Sri Lanka two wickets shy of their target. The thrilling New Zealand win scuppered Sri Lanka’s chances of making the World Test Championship final, handing the spot to India instead.
When rain wiped out the first two sessions on the fifth day, the umpires ruled there would be a minimum of 53 overs played in the evening, which meant New Zealand would have to average 4.85 an over. After a steady but slow start which saw the hosts at 90-3, Williamson and Daryl Mitchell picked up the pace.
They put on 142 in 26 overs for the fourth wicket with the precision of a one-day partnership. Sri Lanka paid a heavy price for Williamson being dropped by Niroshan Dickwella on 33 as he went on to produce his 27th century. The 31-year-old Mitchell, a late arrival on the international stage, contributed 81 to lift his average to a phenomenal 59.04 from 26 innings.