Watling lauds effort of New Zealand quicks

New Zealand

New Zealand wicket-keeper batsman BJ Watling had nothing but praise for the way their bowlers kept going on a dry third day of the first Test in Christchurch, to keep the hosts on top in the match.

Sri Lanka, following-on, ended the day on 293 for 5, still 10 runs short of making New Zealand bat again, as the visitors put up a better rearguard than they did on the second day when they were skittled out for just 138 in 42.4 overs.

New Zealand's seamers, who claimed all the wickets in the first innings, managed just four, including two late in the day, in the second innings but Watling lauded the way they stuck to there disciplines. The visitors scored at an economy rate of only 2.34 runs per over the entire day.

Watling said: "The boys kept running in there and we've bowled a lot of overs there now. But to see Tim Southee and Trent Boult coming in at the end there was pleasing. To not let them get away on us was crucial, and then to get the bang-bang tonight just put us in a position where we felt more comfortable.

"That final spell was a great example of how much the bowlers have improved. Tim did not get the rewards today and Trent did. To come that hard after 30-odd overs, and get enough nip, swing and ask a lot of questions was great. He did that to the new guys coming in as well, and put them under pressure."

The 29 year-old Watling praised the way the Sri Lankans applied themselves at the crease in there second knock at the crease, especially opener Dimuth Karunaratne, who scored his maiden Test ton before he was dismissed for 152 after 483 minutes of hard graft.

Watling said: "They definitely batted a lot better today. I think the wickets is day three and has got a bit better. Karunaratne played extremely well to deny us his wicket for the majority of the day, and it took a great delivery from Trent to finish him off.

"It was frustrating not to get him. He played an exceptional innings in the circumstances."