Sri Lanka defeated New Zealand by six wickets in first of the two-Test series in Galle on Sunday. Riding on a brilliant knock from captain Dimuth Karunaratne, the home team chased the target of 268 by the first season of Day 5.

The opening stand of 161proved fatal for the Kane Williamson-led side as Sri Lanka rallied on to chase their highest ever total in Galle. Resuming last day’s play at an overnight score of 133/0, Kaarunaratne and Lahiru Thirimane added another 28 runs before the latter fell victim off a William Sommerville delivery in the 11th over of the day. New Zealand struck again in the next over as Ajaz Patel showed in-form Kusal Mendis the way of the pavilion when he was batting at 10.

Anglo Mathews joined his captain in the middle and the duo held the Lankan fort for another 15 over and added 44 to the board. Meanwhile, the skipper completed his ninth Test ton, which was also his first fourth innings hundred in his 60-match career, before getting dismissed for 122 by Tim Southee. He had enjoyed some lucks during his stay of over five hours where he faced 245 deliveries. He was dropped at short leg while he was batting at 58 and then wicketkeeper BJ Watling gave him another life as he missed a stumping chance.

The hosts were just 50 runs shy from the winning total when Kusal Perrera came to the crease and started showing aggressive intent. He was given out off an LBW decision in the eighth ball he faced, but he successfully reviewed the decision.

To increase the pain Kiwis, he played a breezy knock of 23 in just 19 balls and took the game completely away from the visitors. His dismissal brought Dhananjaya de Silva into the crease who, along with Mathews, saw their team through without losing another wicket.