New Zealand beat Sri Lanka by 8 wickets in first Test

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Christchurch, Dec 29 (IANS) New Zealand have secured an unprecedented fifth Test win in the year, wrapping up the Boxing Day match against Sri Lanka by eight wickets at the Hagley Oval here Monday.

New Zealand have won four Tests in a calendar year five times but Brendon McCullum’s side topped that this year with a win over India, two over the West Indies and wins over Pakistan and now Sri Lanka in Christchurch Monday, reports

The Sri Lankans batted on this morning before eventually being bowled out for 407 at lunch. Trent Boult took for for 100 runs to move to 34 wickets for the year, one ahead of spearhead partner Tim Southee who took four for 91.

That left the home side a target of 105 and with five sessions to go on a pitch showing no signs of getting worse to bat on, it was never going to be a challenge.

They reached the target two down in the 31st over. Both openers were dismissed early on so there was no confidence-boosting knock for Hamish Rutherford.

Ross Taylor joined Kane Williamson at the crease at 43 for two and guided New Zealand to their meagre target sensibly.

Neither was expansive and both deserved their not-outs. Williamson ended the Test unbeaten on 31 to take his 2014 total to 929 which puts him second highest scorer behind McCullum’s 1164.

Taylor was unbeaten on 39 and ended the game with two well hit boundaries.

Latham scored 17, but pushed at one from debutant spinner Tharindu Kaushal and was caught at first slip by Sri Lankan skipper Angelo Mathews. Rutherford was noticeably more compact in his 46-minute stay, but was removed by a good ball from Shaminda Eranga.

The Black Caps can now not be beaten in the two-match series which means they will extend their already record run.

McCullum’s men have now gone six Test series without a defeat. Before this run, if one-off Tests are excluded, their previous best is four without a loss, achieved in 1985/1986 and 2001/2002.

The second and final Test will be held in Wellington Jan 3-7.

Brief Scores: New Zealand 441 and 107/2 (Ross Taylor not out 39; Shaminda Eranga 1/20) beat Sri Lanka 138 and 407 (Angelo Mathews 66; Tim Southee 4/91, Trent Boult 4/100) by 8 wickets.

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