Sri Lanka seize control of 2nd test against NZ

The hosts held a slim 48-run lead with Kane Williamson and BJ Watling at the crease.

Sri Lankan cricketer Kumar Sangakkara (R) celebrates victory with teammates Tillakaratne Dilshan (L) and Nuwan Kulasekara(C) during the ICC World Twenty20 cricket final match between India and Sri Lanka at The Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Dhaka on April 6, 2014. Sri Lanka won by six wickets. Picture: AFP.

WELLINGTON - Sri Lanka seized control of the second test at the Basin Reserve on Monday after sustained pressure from their bowlers reduced New Zealand to 183 for five at tea.

The hosts held a slim 48-run lead with Kane Williamson and BJ Watling, the last recognised batsmen, at the crease.

Williamson was on 48 and Watling 14 with New Zealand's hopes of extending the game into a fourth day resting on their shoulders.

The hosts had resumed after lunch on 96 for three, still 39 runs behind Sri Lanka's 356, but lost two crucial wickets with Brendon McCullum (22) trapped lbw by Dhammika Prasad while Jimmy Neesham was also leg before to Nuwan Pradeep for 19.

Pradeep had put the hosts on the back foot by taking two quick wickets before lunch while Ross Taylor was deceived by Rangana Herath's guile.

Herath, the world's leading wicket taker in 2014 with 60, missed the first test with a leg injury but has proved to be the key on Monday.

The wily left armer's control of flight, pace, and consistent line and length had effectively throttled New Zealand's scoring, allowing Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews to get his pace bowlers to plug away.

Hamish Rutherford (40) and Tom Latham (35) had given New Zealand a solid start on Monday, driving their side to 75 without loss in the first hour before Pradeep dismissed both.

Rutherford fell into a trap at third man by slashing at a short delivery before Latham fell shortly after when he nicked a delivery to Prasanna Jayawardene with the score on 78.

Taylor was then completely deceived by Herath and bowled for a duck.

The visitors had seized the advantage on the second day with Kumar Sangakkara stroking a masterful double century, while he also held together four vital partnerships.

Sri Lanka need to win the test to level the two-match series after New Zealand won the first game in Christchurch by eight wickets.