Sri Lanka openers recover after following on

Dimuth Karunaratne and Kaushal Silva safely guided their side to 84 without loss in their second innings.

FILE: Dimuth Karunaratne and Kaushal Silva safely guided their side to 84 without loss in their second innings. Picture: AFP

CHRISTCHURCH - Sri Lanka openers Dimuth Karunaratne and Kaushal Silva safely guided their side to 84 without loss in their second innings at the close of the second day's play in the first test against New Zealand on Saturday after being forced to follow-on.

Karunaratne was on 49, while Silva was 33 not out at Hagley Oval in Christchurch, still 219 runs from making New Zealand bat again.

The visitors had capitulated for 138 in their first innings as New Zealand's pace attack tore through their lineup by pitching the ball up and allowing it to swing.

Opening bowler Trent Boult had reduced the visitors to 15 for three in the morning session before Tim Southee removed Lahiru Thirimanne and Niroshan Dickwella in the same over to send them tumbling to 60 for five after lunch.

"Those are the spells and conditions you dream about," Boult told RadioSport of his figures of 3-11 in seven overs before lunch. "It came out pretty nicely. There was a bit of swing and it seamed around a bit as well."

Neil Wagner then ran through the tail with three wickets, with Jimmy Neesham taking the other two as the hosts dismissed Sri Lanka just after the umpires had delayed the tea break and extended the afternoon session by 30 minutes.

New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum immediately enforced the follow on and Boult said given the conditions and match situation there had been little discussion about batting again.

"I think with the overhead conditions, the greenness of the wickets and with the ball swinging around I thought it was the best decision," Boult added.

"We were right to do it, but there was just some good batting on Sri Lanka's behalf. They aimed to get through that first spell and found if they did that it turned into a good batting wicket."

While Karunaratne and Silva provided a solid foundation to Sri Lanka's second innings, the match was very much in New Zealand's favour with the pitch still offering assistance to the bowlers, Boult added.

"We're in a brilliant position," he said.

"The wicket is lush. There is still a lot of grass cover (and) ... some are seaming and some are not. Some are swinging and some are not.

"So if you can be in that area and ask those questions then those ones that do a little bit more than then others then you'll be in the game."