181216 Tom Latham
Tom Latham Image Credit: AP/PTI

Wellington: Tom Latham posted his seventh Test century and Kane Williamson narrowly missed his 20th as New Zealand took full control of the first cricket Test against Sri Lanka on the second day on Sunday.

New Zealand reached stumps at 311-2 in reply to Sri Lanka’s first innings of 282 with Latham 121 not out and Ross Taylor 50, having added 90 for the third wicket.

Earlier, Latham put on 59 for the first wicket with Jeet Raval (43) and 162 in a dominant stand with Williamson which tipped the match in New Zealand’s favour after it had been in the balance at the end of the first day.

Williamson had seemed to be moving inexorably towards his 20th century and his second in consecutive innings when he made an uncharacteristic error of judgement and was dismissed after taking his 91 runs from only 93 balls.

Latham’s innings was plodding in comparison but also represented a welcome return to form. He had scored only two half centuries in his previous nine innings and the century was his first since January, 2017.

“We thought it was going to be a day we really had to work hard for and grind out for a while and we got the rewards at the back end of the day,” New Zealand coach Gary Stead said. “I think we picked up around 135 runs in the last session so we’re really pleased with where we’re at this stage of the game.

“Tom Latham made a fantastic hundred and he did it the hard way, he had to grind it out for a while. Then you saw the class of Kane Williamson who scored a lot more freely as well.”

Brief scores

Sri Lanka: 282 all out Karunaratne 79, Mathews 83, Dickwella 80; Southee 6-68

New Zealand: 311-2 Latham 121*, Williamson 91, Taylor 50*; De Silva 1-30