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Sri Lanka vs New Zealand 1st Test: McIntosh Fifty Props Up New Zealand

By on August 20, 2009

Sri Lanka vs New Zealand - Tim McIntosh

Lunch New Zealand 137 for 3 (McIntosh 53*, Taylor 6*) v Sri Lanka 452…

Heavy morning rain again cut into playing time, but when action resumed under overcast skies, New Zealand fought doggedly to stave off Sri Lanka’s bowlers. Tim McIntosh, troubled periodically by the short ball, gritted his way to a half-century, and with Jeetan Patel providing stout resistance in the nightwatchman’s role, New Zealand made it through a 90-minute session losing just one wicket.

Sri Lanka’s pace bowlers toiled hard without reward, and it was left to Muttiah Muralitharan to get the breakthrough, trapping Patel in front for 26, a steady innings which lasted 57 deliveries.

The session took a while to warm up. Murali bowled one over and was then taken off, and it was Thilan Thushara who asked all the initial questions. Patel was sound and confident in defence, nudging the odd single, while McIntosh left the ball alone more often than not. Against the short ball though, he was in all sorts of strife, getting hit first on the shoulder and then flush on the helmet.

Patel’s innings was part grit and part good fortune. There was one lovely drive through the covers off Thushara, but it was followed by an awkward shot that flew past the slips as he sought to duck under a bouncer. McIntosh survived a huge shout from Ajantha Mendis, with the umpire perhaps thinking there was an inside edge, and it looked like it was going to be New Zealand’s morning as a rare full toss was pummelled away to take McIntosh to his half-century.

But then Murali struck, leaving Ross Taylor to survive an anxious passage just before lunch. He unveiled one fluent drive through the covers to suggest that the afternoon might not be all about defence after all.

Dileep Premachandran is an associate editor at Cricinfo

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