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Dogged Watling revives NZ in Galle test

By AAP Newswire

BJ Watling rescued New Zealand with a gutsy unbeaten 63 as the visitors overcame a batting collapse to reach 7-195 in their second innings on day three of the opening cricket Test against Sri Lanka.

The tourists, having conceded an 18-run first innings lead, were reeling at 3-25 but Tom Latham made 45 and Watling produced a fighting half century to stretch New Zealand's lead to 177 runs with three wickets in hand at stumps on Friday.

William Somerville was batting on five at the other end when bad light stopped play at Galle International Stadium.

Earlier, Sri Lanka added 40 runs to their overnight score of 7-227 before losing their last three wickets in the morning session.

New Zealand, who made 249 in the first innings, were undone by the Sri Lankan spinners in their second spell as well.

Offspinner Dhanjaya de Silva drew first blood when Jeet Raval (4) was caught in the covers after trying to check his drive.

Captain Kane Williamson had fallen for a third ball duck in the first innings and he looked uncharacteristically ill at ease in the second as well.

The right-hander made four before charging out against Lasith Embuldeniya and Kusal Perera, positioned at mid-on, took a off-balance catch to claim a prized scalp.

In his next over Embuldeniya, who has the leading figures of 4-71 from 29 overs, dismissed Ross Taylor (three) to further peg back the tourists.

Latham staged a brief recovery job with Henry Nicholls who contributed 26 before both departed, leaving Watling as the last recognised batsman.

The wicketkeeper hit five boundaries in his patient knock while quick bowler Tim Southee chipped in with 23.